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Lee Anderson suspended from Conservative Party over ‘Islamophobic’ comments | UK News

Lee Anderson has been suspended from the Conservative Party after making “Islamophobic” comments.

A spokesperson for Simon Hart, the chief whip, said: “Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the chief whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP.”

Pressure had been mounting on Rishi Sunak to act after the MP for Ashfield said he believed “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London.

On GB News earlier this week, Mr Anderson said: “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… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

Responding on Saturday Mr Khan accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn Mr Anderson‘s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.

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Khan: ‘The deafening silence from Rishi Sunak’

He said the claim by the former Tory deputy chairman was Islamophobic and sent the message that Muslims were “fair game” when it came to racism.

“These comments from a senior Conservative are Islamophobic, are anti-Muslim and are racist,” Mr Khan said.

Highlighting a recent rise in hate crimes, he said: “These comments pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred.

“I am afraid the deafening silence from Rishi Sunak and from the cabinet is them condoning this racism.

“I am afraid it confirms to many people across the country that there’s a hierarchy when it comes to racism.”

Mr Anderson’s remarks prompted criticism from the Labour Party, which wrote to Mr Sunak calling for the whip to be removed.

Some Tories have also spoken out against Mr Anderson’s remarks, including former cabinet minister Sir Sajid Javid, who branded them “ridiculous”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield react during a visit to Woodland View Primary School in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, Britain January 4, 2024. Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
Rishi Sunak and Lee Anderson in January. Pic: Reuters

Cabinet minister Grant Shapps distanced himself from Mr Anderson’s comments but appeared to defend his right to “speak [his] mind”.

He made the comments at a time of heightened community tensions as the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza rages, with concerns over the conduct of pro-Palestinian protesters and fears of violence against MPs.

Business minister Nus Ghani described her Tory colleague’s comments as “foolish and dangerous”.

In a post on X, the Wealden MP said: “I have spoken to Lee Anderson. I’ve called out Islamic extremism (& been attacked by hard left, far right & Islamists).

“I don’t for one moment believe that Sadiq Khan is controlled by Islamists. To say so, is both foolish and dangerous. Frankly this is all so tiring…”

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Mr Anderson was a deputy chair of the Conservative Party until he resigned his post to vote against Mr Sunak’s Rwanda bill.

He later said he wished he could get his job back.

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It is not the first time Mr Anderson has been subject to controversy.

He has been nicknamed “30p Lee” by some critics for previously suggesting that someone could cook themselves meals from scratch for “about 30 pence a day“.

Mr Anderson gets £100,000 a year for his GB News show on top of his £86,584 MP salary.

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