Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment The End for Lee Anderson?

The End for Lee Anderson?

Josie Sharp, Print International Editor, considers the many controversies that MP Lee Anderson has been embroiled in.
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Image: David Woolfall via Wikimedia Commons

Lee Anderson, who has been a Tory MP for Ashford since 2019, has found himself in yet another scandal. Earlier this week the MP made Islamophobic remarks regarding Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor. This is far from his first controversy, as Anderson has a track record of making ignorant and ill-informed remarks on sensitive issues.

The Ashfield MP was Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party for 11 months up until mid-January, where he resigned from his position due to his disagreements with Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill. Anderson’s harsh stance on asylum seekers led him to believe that this Bill was too lax. Anderson went on a vocal rampage denouncing the Bill, all before going reverse ferret and abstaining from the vote.

Adding to his anti-refugee rhetoric, following complaints around the Tory’s Migrant Barge Initiative, Anderson told the Express that “if they don’t like the barges they should f*** off back to France.” The Ashfield MP refused to apologise for this remark, and with a prominent MP spouting such rhetoric, the outrage caused by anti-migrant comments gets less and less strong.

“If they [asylum seekers] don’t like the barges they should f*** off back to France”

Lee Anderson MP

Another of his many controversies was Anderson’s decision to boycott England’s Euros Football Championships 2020, once the team started taking the knee during their national anthems. Bending the knee was an act of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement, which Lee perceived to be an attempt to “undermine our very way of life.” He was ridiculed for his stubbornness of this issue, where many of England’s star players are black or of mixed race. The team saw it fit to make their voices heard in an era of intense cultural change. In the end Lee confessed that he actually checked the scores on his phone during the matches.

In 2022, he went on an infamous Commons rant that earned him the nickname ‘30p Lee’, after he claimed that people could “cook meals from scratch” for “30p a day”. Around the same time, he also blamed nurses’ inability to manage their own finances as the reason that many were being forced to use foodbanks. As well as this, he said he believed that the country had no real demand for foodbanks at all, failing to acknowledge the underfunding the NHS has suffered due to the Conservative’s austerity program.

In 2023, Anderson had to apologise to a junior doctor for his Twitter rant about the doctor’s industrial action, and donated £1870 to the British Medical Association with his tail between his legs. For context, this is not even 2% of the £100,000 he receives every year for a side job presenting a show on GBNews.

Anderson and the Tory Party’s resistance to the nurses demands has been the ‘knock on effect’ of other sectors desiring pay rises, but in reality, our qualified medics are asking for reasonable compensation for their important work.

After all these controversies, could Lee Anderson’s blatant Islamophobia finally be his demise? His outrageous comment that Sadiq Khan has “given our capital city away to his mates”, “the Islamists” has now led to the removal of the whip, essentially expelling him from his own party. The London Mayor has said that Anderson’s comments were “pouring fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred.” Indeed, anti-Muslim hate crimes have tripled in the past four months.

” [Lee Anderson’s comments were] pouring fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

In keeping with previous incidents, ‘30p Lee’ has refused to apologise, and following his suspension Sunak could be left without his prevalent sidekick for the upcoming election. Although, in a leaked recording Anderson has previously demonstrated a lack of faith in the Prime Minister, who he said didn’t have the same ‘charisma’ as his predecessor Boris Johnson.

Is this how the Tories wish to be perceived? As people of inaction who allow its MPs to rise to such ranks, only to be spokespersons of hate? ‘30p Lee’ has showed the public time and time again that his views now go beyond the Conservative’s beliefs, and seem to align themselves more with UKIP. Lee Anderson’s demise is indicative of a crumbling Conservative Party facing its impending electoral downfall.

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