A LONDON-based Islamic group has targeted Pendle candidate Andrew Stephenson as part of a social media campaign to oust 14 former Tory MPs in marginal seats.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPACUK) claims the 14 are ‘Islamophobic’ and supporters of Israel but provides no evidence for the assertion.

It is part of is ‘Operation Muslim Vote’ which is encouraging Muslims to vote for the Labour Party in the December 12 General Election.

In 2005 MPACUK launched a high-profile but unsuccessful campaign to oust then Blackburn MP and Labour Cabinet minister Jack Straw over the Iraq War.

This year’s campaign uses social media including Twitter and WhatsApp against the 14 former Tory MPs, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who are defending small majorities.

Its Twitter feed says: “MPACUK is campaigning against 14 Islamophobic MPs, incl 6 ministers & Boris.

“In 3 elections, we kicked out 8 MPs & Ministers. This election, help us kick out 14.”

Its website says there are enough Muslim voters in each of the 14 seats to defeat the Conservative candidate.

Foreign Office minister Mr Stephenson had a majority of 1,279 in the 2017 election.

Mr Stephenson said: “I think this is a ridiculous smear campaign.

“Since 2010 I have tried to serve everyone in Pendle regardless of colour creed or religion.

“I am proud that my re-election campaign is being supported by several Muslim councillors, a large number of Muslim activists and has been backed by former party chair Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who has been critical of any sign of Islamophobia in the Tory Party.”

His Labour opponent Azhar Ali said: “I am not aware of MPAC doing anything in Pendle.

“I am campaigning or bread and butter issues such as the NHS, cuts to public services and the threat of a Boris Johnson government.”

Liberal Democrat candidate Gordon Lishman said: “I have seen no evidence of Islamophobic behaviour by Mr Stephenson.”

An MPAC spokesman said: "All of our statements concerning candidates we are campaigning against are evidenced by their public record via Hansard and Public Whip. As parliamentary candidates, they have a record of supporting Islamophobic policies that have included the expansion of the Prevent duty & Schedule 7 powers. Both have been highly discriminatory against Muslims already.

"As with all forms of prejudice, Islamophobia & Xenophobia has been used as a scapegoat for the crushing consequences of years of austerity."

Green Party candidate Clare Hales and Independent John Richardson declined to comment.