Lee Anderson refuses to rule out joining Reform UK after Sadiq Khan Islamist claims

  • By Kate Whannel
  • Political reporter, BBC News

Image caption,

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

Lee Anderson has refused to rule out joining Reform UK after he was suspended by the Tories for suggesting Sadiq Khan is managed by Islamists.

The former Tory deputy chairman additionally criticised the celebration for not exhibiting him a “bit more backing”.

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

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s chief, mentioned Mr Sunak lacked the “backbone” to name out Islamophobia.

Mr Anderson says his assaults on Mr Khan have been borne out of frustration on the London mayor’s report.

During a GB News dialogue on Friday afternoon, Mr Anderson mentioned: “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 mentioned: “The truth is that the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now.”

Ms Braverman mentioned 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.

In a later assertion launched through GB News – who make use of the MP as a broadcaster – Mr Anderson mentioned: “When you assume you might be proper it is best to by no means apologise as a result of to achieve this can be an indication of weak point.

“My phrases could have been clumsy however my phrases have been borne out of sheer frustration at what is occurring to our lovely capital metropolis.”

Mr Anderson advised the channel on Monday that the Conservative Party “might have given me a bit of bit extra backing”, after he showed “a bit of little bit of contrition”.

He argued pro-Palestinian protests outdoors Parliament and threats to MPs confirmed Mr Khan had “misplaced management of town”.

He insisted his feedback “weren’t racist in any respect” and said he would not apologise to Mr Khan “whereas I’ve a breath in my physique”.

Pressed over whether or not he would be part of the right-wing Reform UK celebration, the previous Labour councillor declined to remark however mentioned he had “been on a political journey”.

He mentioned: “You’ll say Lee Anderson guidelines out/does not rule out joining the Reform celebration, so I’m making no touch upon my future.”

When requested if he can be a Tory candidate on the subsequent election, Mr Anderson mentioned “that is not up to me”, however added that he would nonetheless be standing.

Reform UK chief Richard Tice, additionally a GB News presenter, appeared to go away the door open to Mr Anderson on Monday, saying he “could have been clumsy in his exact alternative of phrases, however his sentiments are supported by thousands and thousands of British residents, together with myself”.

“I don’t and won’t give a working commentary on any discussions I’ve with any MPs, however these MPs have my quantity.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Mr Sunak mentioned Mr Anderson’s alternative of phrases “wasn’t acceptable, it was incorrect, that is why the whip was suspended”.

He mentioned it was “incumbent” on parliamentarians not to inflame debate “in a method that’s dangerous to others”.

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

But Labour chief Sir Keir advised reporters: “This is absolutely fundamental. Islamophobia is one thing which must be known as out by each political chief, and the prime minister is not calling it out as a result of he is too weak.”

“It should not be onerous to name out feedback which can be so unambiguously ignorant, prejudiced and racist. Yet these on the prime of the Conservative authorities are stubbornly refusing to achieve this.”

Image caption,

Sadiq Khan mentioned Lee Anderson’s feedback must be known as out as Islamophobic

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

He advised 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”.

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

The report discovered proof of anti-Muslim views at native affiliation and particular person degree however mentioned 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 – mentioned issues that sure locations comparable to components of Tower Hamlets in London and Sparkhill in Birmingham had grow to be “no-go areas” needed “to be addressed”.

He mentioned: “Lee tends to shoot from the hip. He generally goes too far. This is an event when he has gone method, method 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 mentioned: “The concept that Birmingham has a ‘no-go’ zone is information to me, and I think the nice 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 mentioned Mr Sunak disagreed with Mr Scully’s feedback, including: “The PM has talked earlier than in regards to the worth of the very numerous communities and societies that we’ve got 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 mentioned.

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

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