The two main candidates in the Blackburn election campaign calling for government action to secure a ceasefire in Gaza are now in open conflict over whether one of them should stand aside.

Workers Party of Britain candidate Craig Murray and local Independent Adnan Hussain have become embroiled in a social media war of words over how to stop the pair from "splitting the vote" of constituents concerned about the Israel/Hamas conflict and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The spat follows a tweet on X by Mr Murray and his party leader George Galloway, claiming the two Parliamentary hopefuls have agreed to toss a coin to decide who should step aside and give the other a clear run at winning the seat.

But Mr Hussain, backed by the 4BwD group of Independent councillors, released a four-minute video saying he was 'disgusted' at the suggestion which made 'a mockery' of the Palestinian cause.

Adnan Hussain said he never agreed to a coin tossAdnan Hussain said he never agreed to a coin toss

Mr Galloway's tweet, repeated on Mr Murray's X account, said: "Following a very late night of negotiations in Blackburn which failed to reach an agreement between Craig Murray and Independent candidate Adnan Hussain, as to which of them needs to stand down in the interests of Palestine, I can announce Craig's agreement to the prominent Blackburn scholars' proposal to a toss of the coin and leave the matter in the hands of God!"

Mr Murray, who has previously accused Mr Hussain of stabbing him in the back, then tweeted: "With a very heavy heart I agreed to this as I feel I am letting down all those who crowdfunded and helped me.

"I believed I had a duty to try to further my work against the genocide through Parliament, but tough to beat Labour with a local independent joining the race.

"I am not standing down in Blackburn. But we have to unite to be certain to defeat Genocide Labour.

"While I believe I am very obviously the better-qualified candidate, we should find a united front for Palestine, and I have therefore agreed to a coin toss."

However, in his video, Mr Hussain said: "I was disgusted by George at the suggestion to toss a coin to decide between myself and Craig as to who should stand and who should step down.

"I will never toss a coin on this matter and I am deeply insulted at the suggestion.

"With the genocide of the Muslims already cheapening our blood halfway across the world, I'd suggest people approach this matter with a little more decorum and respect.

"I took this mission as a means to effectively represent the sentiments of my people as we witness the plight of people in Gaza as they continue to be annihilated.

"Do not insult me or the sentiments of those who are enraged by the genocide of our people in Gaza by making a mockery of our cause."

Following Mr Hussain's video, Mr Murray told the Lancashire Telegraph: "It is an offer from our side to resolve the impasse but I understand Adnan has refused."

In a video response of his own, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan said: "I've just seen a video which demands an immediate answer because it says a number of things which simply aren't true.

"I'll continue to fight on and we will win anyway."

Labour candidate Mrs Hollern said: "And these people want to be taken seriously? How does this benefit the people of Blackburn?

"First they stab each other in the back and then they discuss having a toss-up for Palestine."

The full list of candidates is: Kate Hollern – Labour Party; Adnan Hussain - Independent; Jamie McGowan - Conservative Party; Denise Morgan - Green Party; Craig Murray – Workers Party of Britain; Altaf 'Tiger' Patel – Independent; Natasha Shah - Independent; Tommy Temperley – Reform UK; Adam Waller-Slack – Liberal Democrats.