TAXI driver turned councillor and social media sensation Altaf 'Tiger' Patel has announced he is standing for Blackburn at the forthcoming General Election.

The Little Harwood and Whitebirk Independent said he was throwing his hat in the ring because people had asked him to.

Cllr Patel vowed to represent and speak out for the whole community in Blackburn if elected.

He will be taking on sitting Labour MP Kate Hollern who held the Blackburn seat with a majority of 18,304 in 2019.

Cllr Patel was elected as Conservative in the Audley and Queen's Park Ward in 2021 but dramatically resigned from the party over the government’s refusal to condemn the siege of Gaza at a pro-Palestinian peace rally on the steps of the Town Hall in October.

In May's local elections he was re-elected as an Independent for his new ward after being backed by Rochdale Workers Party of Britain MP George Galloway.

Watch: Tiger Patel's victory celebrations with wife go viral

Cllr Patel, who announced his candidacy via WhatsApp, claiming several local businesses as supporters, said: "I am standing because people asked me too.

"I think I can do a better job than Kate. I can speak out for the people of Blackburn in a way she cannot.

"I think I can win 110 per cent, Inshallah.

"I am here for the whole of Blackburn. I am not the Muslim or South Asian candidate.

"As an Independent MP I can speak for the people of the town in a way that a Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat cannot because of party rules and regulations.

"I am well respected throughout the community in Blackburn.

"As a taxi driver I know a lot of people.

"I want to give the people of Blackburn a choice.

"I have worked for the people of Blackburn for 20 years.

"I am not bothered about who else is standing.

"The businesses on my WhatsApp post have promised to support me financially and with other assistance."

WATCH: Blackburn: Video of Tiger Patel fixing road sign racks up 200,000 views

A spokesman for the Workers Party of Britain which has selected former ambassador Craig Murray - who unsuccessfully challenged former Blackburn MP Jack Straw in 2005 - as its general election candidate declined to comment on Cllr Patel's announcement.

Other confirmed candidates for the Blackburn constituency so far are Adam Waller-Slack for the Liberal Democrats, and Paul Topping of the Social Democratic Party.

Rick Moore, deputy chairman of Blackburn Conservative Association which has yet to select its general election candidate, said: "If Tiger wants to stand he can do. That is democracy.

"I think his message will resonate with some parts of the community but I don't think it is one that will bring the town together as a whole."

Mrs Hollern has been approached for comment.