The Hyndburn constituency Labour party has called for the reinstatement of former MP Graham Jones as its general election candidate.

At a meeting on Friday, it voted to call on the national leadership to lift his suspension.

It comes as campaigning is underway after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a general election for Thursday, July 4.

In February, the national party suspended Mr Jones from Labour and his position as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hyndburn, against current Tory MP Sara Britcliffe who won the seat from him in 2019.

It followed him being recorded allegedly using the words “f***ing Israel” at the same meeting of the Lancashire Labour Party that led to the withdrawal of party support for Rochdale candidate Azhar Ali.

Now his local party has called for an end to the investigation and Mr Jones' reinstatement.

A Labour spokesperson said no final decision had yet been made.

A post on Hyndburn Labour's internal Facebook group, by constituency chair Andy Tatchell after Friday's meeting, said: "On Friday evening our constituency Labour Party met and unanimously agreed to send a letter of support for Graham Jones our currently suspended Parliamentary candidate.

"Graham has been a dedicated and passionate advocate for our party and our community and we believe it's crucial to stand by him during this challenging time as he has done by us.

"Our collective support is a testament to the strength and unity of our local party."

The decision provoked former Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson to write to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer on the issue.

Mr Parkinson quit Labour in March 2022, making claims of a toxic culture and bullying within the CLP, and controversially stayed on in charge of the authority as an independent until losing his Altham ward seat in the 2023 local elections to Labour.

In the letter, he accused Mr Jones' supporters, including his partner and Spring Hill ward's Cllr Kimberley Whitehead, of organising the meeting, branding it a 'new low' for Hyndburn Labour.

He said it 'tarnishes the total membership', adding 'clearly this individual is not suitable to stand for Labour as a parliamentary candidate due to the damage he has done but also other members of Hyndburn Labour Party who are seeking nomination'.

Mr Tatchell described the allegation that Cllr Whitehead had organised the meeting as 'a total fabrication'.

He said: "It was a perfectly normal run-of-the-mill monthly meeting of the constituency party attended by between 30 and 40 members.

"A variety of issues were discussed including Mr Jones' position.

"With the election have been called by Rishi Sunak the confirmation of Graham as our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate has become a matter of urgency."

The Labour Party spokesperson declined to comment on Mr Parkinson's letter.