An MP has moved to confirm he is alive and well after a rumour suggesting he had died was shared widely on Twitter.

Transport minister Andrew Stephenson invoked the famous Mark Twain quote when he responded with: “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

It followed a post which announced the Pendle MP’s “sudden passing”, and invited people to light candles.

Mr Stephenson said the post, which also said “you will be missed, RIP” was “distressing” for his family.

The Conservative said he had been inundated with text messages afterwards.

It also included a comment purporting to be from Pendle Council leader Mohammed Iqbal, which : “Shocking news.”

In a tweet, Mr Stephenson said: “Thanks for all the texts but rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

“I have spoken to Cllr Iqbal and do not believe he has had anything to do with this malicious story.”

Mr Iqbal said it had been a “sick and deplorable joke”.

He said: “Just seen a despicable announcement allegedly in my name announcing the death of Andrew Stephenson MP.

“I wish to make it clear I am not the source of this news and it’s not true. I may disagree politically with Andrew but wish him a long and healthy life.”

Mr Stephenson said: “This is distressing for my family and friends. It’s not very nice.

“Several people contacted me after seeing it. This is irritating and has caused me some work but I have had worse on social media including death threats.”

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