The Conservative Party has abandoned the selection process for choosing their candidate to contest the Henley seat at the next general election.

In April, John Howell's decision to inform the South Oxfordshire Conservative Association that he would not continue as an MP after the next election triggered the start of a selection contest for the party's candidate.

The party's selection process has already attracted the attention of Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell, who revealed his intentions to be the Conservative candidate in an interview to the Telegraph on April 30.

It has been reported in the Express that constituency chairman William Hall, son of former BBC director general Lord Hall, was selected for the shortlist.

But a number of complaints were made by unsuccessful candidates and local party members.

One of the complaints is believed to have come from Mr Cracknell.

In a message sent to prospective candidates from the director of candidates Matt Lane and chief of staff to the chairman of the candidates Gareth Fox, it was said: "I write to inform you that due to breaches of the parliamentary candidate selection process, the party board have this afternoon decided to abandon the current selection process of the Henley constituency.

"This vacancy will be readvertised in due course."

A Conservative source at the association told the Oxford Mail the message was sent today and its leaking to the press was under investigation.

The Liberal Democrats candidate for the Henley seat is Cllr Freddie van Mierlo, who represents Chalgrove and Watlington on Oxfordshire County Council.

The Green Party candidate is Cllr Jo Robb, who represents Woodcote and Rotherfield on South Oxfordshire District Councillor.

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.