Workers Party of Britain candidate Craig Murray has accused the 4BwD group of independent councillors of stabbing him in the back over who they are supporting in the Blackburn general election campaign.

The former ambassador to Uzbekistan says they had promised to support him at a meeting on April 13, but then chose their own poll hopeful, local solicitor Adnan Hussain instead.

But the leader of the 4BwD group Cllr Mustafa Desai has accused him of 'misinformation' and said Mr Murray's claim its members endorsed him at the Bangor Street Community Centre meeting was impossible as it took place long before Rishi Sunak's surprise announcement of the July 4 election on May 22.

Mr Murray, who stood against Jack Straw in 2005, released a six-minute TikTok video accusing the group - who quit Labour over the party's stance on the Israel/Hamas conflict in October - of being 'dishonest charlatans'.

Cllr Mustafa Desai has said Craig Murray is lyingCllr Mustafa Desai has said Craig Murray is lying

He said: "Effectively the people who called me here to be the candidate then stabbed me in the back.

"I went to George Galloway's headquarters shortly after he's won the Rochdale by-election, and there I met with one of the independent councillors who had left the Labour Party here in Blackburn with George and a member of the Muslim vote, and they said they wanted me to be the candidate here in Blackburn.

"I then flew back again for a big meeting at Bangor Street Community Centre on April 13 to launch the Blackburn Independents campaign for the local elections.

"I arrived at Blackburn railway station and I was met by Mustafa Desai.

"He put me in his car and drove me to the meeting venue and on the way discussed the prospects for the election with me.

"I was announced as the parliamentary candidate. All of the Blackburn independents were there. They all applauded like mad.

The 4 BwD group of councillors is backing Adnan Hussain in the General ElectionThe 4 BwD group of councillors is backing Adnan Hussain in the General Election

"The councillors who had already adopted me decided to have a selection meeting and then announced that Adnan was adopted as the candidate.

"This was extraordinary but what was even more extraordinary was that they lied through their teeth, that they put out statements claiming that the Bangor Street meeting had never happened, claiming that there had never been a meeting with the Workers Party.

"I'm not used to people who just lie through the teeth - utterly dishonest charlatans and that's what these people are."

In response to the claims, Cllr Desai said: "The 12 Independent councillors have never endorsed Craig Murray.

"Our stance has always been that we would never join any other mainstream political party, nor would we endorse or support any candidate who was affiliated to or a member of any political party.

"I have evidence that I will draw upon should the need arise if misinformation is continued to be disseminated from Craig and Craig Murray's camp.

"The conference that Craig has alluded to in his video was pre-local elections. There was no general election announcement at that time so there was absolutely no requirement to endorse a candidate.

"The very first meeting between the 12 Independent councillors and Craig Murray was on May 23. Prior to that, there was absolutely no meeting convened where Craig was unanimously endorsed.

"The meeting on the 23rd was a hustings and both Craig and Adnan attended. Subsequent to that a decision was taken by the Independent group to endorse one of the candidates."

Defending Blackburn Labour MP, Kate Hollern, said: "Craig Murray's video reaffirms the chaotic and disorderly nature of the independent candidates' campaigns."