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Lee Anderson refuses to apologise for Islamist claim about Sadiq Khan

  • By Kate Whannel
  • Political reporter, BBC News

Image caption,

Ex-miner Lee Anderson joined the Conservative Party having beforehand labored for a Labour MP

Ex-Tory occasion deputy chair Lee Anderson has stated his phrases have been clumsy however has refused to apologise for suggesting Sadiq Khan is managed by Islamists.

Mr Anderson was suspended as a Tory MP following his remarks, which he says have been borne out of frustration on the London mayor’s file.

Rishi Sunak referred to as the Ashfield MP’s feedback incorrect however averted saying if he thought they have been Islamophobic.

Sir Keir Starmer stated the PM lacked the “backbone” to name out Islamophobia.

The Labour chief instructed reporters: “This is really basic. Islamophobia is something which should be called out by every political leader, and the prime minister isn’t calling it out because he’s too weak.”

“It shouldn’t be hard to call out comments that are so unambiguously ignorant, prejudiced and racist. Yet those at the top of the Conservative government are stubbornly refusing to do so.”

The row was sparked by feedback Mr Anderson made throughout a GB News dialogue on Friday afternoon.

Mr Anderson stated: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London, and they’ve got control of Starmer as well.”

He later added: “People are just turning up in their thousands, and doing anything they want, and they are laughing at our police. This stems with Khan, he’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

Mr Anderson had been responding to a Daily Telegraph article by ex-Home Secretary Suella Braverman, through which she stated: “The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now.”

Ms Braverman stated Islamists “bullied the Labour Party” over its place on the conflict in Gaza and that some folks on pro-Palestinian marches had hyperlinks to Islamists.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Sunak stated Mr Anderson’s selection of phrases “wasn’t acceptable, it was wrong, that’s why the whip was suspended”.

He stated it was “incumbent” on parliamentarians not to inflame debate “in a way that is harmful to others”.

The prime minister additionally denied there have been Islamophobic tendencies in his occasion.

In an announcement launched through GB News – who make use of the MP as a broadcaster – Mr Anderson stated he wouldn’t be saying sorry.

“When you suppose you’re proper it’s best to by no means apologise as a result of to accomplish that can be an indication of weak spot.

“My phrases might have been clumsy however my phrases have been borne out of sheer frustration at what is going on to our stunning capital metropolis.”

Conservative MP Rehman Chishti, who’s Muslim, referred to as for the prime minister to appoint an unbiased adviser on Islamophobia, a place which has been vacant since June 2022.

He instructed the BBC Mr Sunak had “failed to have interaction” with him on tackling Islamophobia and he had “actual concern with regards to the prime minister’s judgement on these issues”.

‘Hatred’

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds has urged the Conservatives to undertake a definition of Islamophobia, as drawn up by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims.

However, Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch stated the Conservatives had as a substitute opted to use the time period “anti-Muslim hatred”, adding that the definition backed by Labour would create “a blasphemy regulation through the again door”.

Baroness Warsi hit again, saying “as you’re properly conscious, the definition just like the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition on antisemitism is a non-legally binding working definition, not a ‘regulation’.”

She additionally stated the federal government had “dragged its heels on any work to sort out this type of racism”.

In 2019, the Conservative Party launched an inquiry into how the occasion handles discrimination claims, following allegations of Islamophobic behaviour.

The report discovered proof of anti-Muslim views at native affiliation and particular person stage however stated claims of “institutional racism” weren’t borne out by the proof.

‘No-go areas’

Asked about Mr Anderson’s feedback on BBC Radio London, Paul Scully, a Conservative MP – and former minister for London – stated considerations that sure locations resembling components of Tower Hamlets in London and Sparkhill in Birmingham had turn out to be “no-go areas” needed “to be addressed”.

He stated: “Lee tends to shoot from the hip. He typically goes too far. This is an event when he has gone manner, manner too far.”

Birmingham Labour MP Jess Phillips urged Mr Scully to apologise for his feedback about Sparkhill, which she labelled “utter drivel”.

Conservative West Midlands Mayor Andy Street stated: “The concept that Birmingham has a ‘no-go’ zone is information to me, and I think the great folks of Sparkhill. It actually is time for these in Westminster to cease the nonsense slurs and expertise the actual world.”

The prime minister’s official spokesman stated Mr Sunak disagreed with Mr Scully’s feedback, including: “The PM has talked earlier than about the worth of the very various communities and societies that we have now within the UK.”

“There are areas the place there are a tiny minority of people that make folks uncomfortable about not being of their faith, of their tradition, who’re misinterpreting their very own doctrine,” he stated.

Mr Scully added: “If I’ve spoken mistakenly or created upset then I apologise.”

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