A Blackburn man who was campaigning for an Independent candidate has clarified why he was listed as a nominee for Reform UK.

Sabir Esa is named as a proposer for Tommy Temperley, the Reform UK candidate for Blackburn.

But he revealed he was leading the Independent campaign for Tiger Patel - who on Tuesday chose to step aside and support the Workers Party's Craig Murray - and only agreed to put his name down to nominate Mr Temperley to 'help out'.

Reform candidate Mr Temperley said he couldn’t understand ‘what all the fuss was about’.

Concerns were raised by some after Mr Esa’s name was listed as a proposer for the Reform Party.

Mr Esa has previously stood as a Conservative Party candidate in previous years, and has also been a vocal community activist.

However, when asked about why his name was listed on the official election listing for Reform UK, Mr Esa said: “I must clarify that my nomination as a proposer for the Reform UK candidate in Blackburn was purely a personal favour for a close friend, Tommy Temperley.

“He approached me as he was facing challenges in obtaining a proposer, and I agreed to sign the nomination papers out of friendship and to assist him personally, not in support of the Reform party.

“I want to emphasise that I am an independent individual and do not align myself with the Reform party or any other political party.

"I firmly believe in the independent movement and the value of independent candidates.

“My personal beliefs and convictions are rooted in the principles of independence, and I, along with my friends and family, will be supporting independent candidates in the upcoming election.”

(Image: Nq/LT)

Mr Esa said he had no qualms about saying he was helping with Tiger Patel's campaign as he found him to an ‘honest’ person who was trying the ‘help the community’.

Cllr Patel announced he was stepping aside in the race for Westminster, and while his name will remain on the ballot paper he has urged his supporters to instead vote for Workers Party candidate Craig Murray on July 4.

Mr Esa has said he will honour Cllr Patel's calls and now support Mr Murray.

Reform UK's Mr Temperley, said he just wanted Blackburn to be one ‘united and happy place’.

He said: “I would like to clarify with you Sabir is a personal and family friend, nothing political.

"He signed as a friend, nothing else. I can't see what all the trouble is about.”

When suggested some people might find it a little strange, he added: “No issues at all.

"I want the best for our town. I am a Muslim convert myself for some 40 years as my wife is Arab. 

“I joined Reform as I left the Conservatives being 'racist' along with Labour not just with Gaza what about the other Muslims in the world who are suffering in China, India and Myanmar.”

He said Blackburn needed to be ‘united in interfaith’ and was trying to get it to be 'one big happy town’.