Rishi Sunak appoints firebrand Red Wall MP Lee Anderson deputy party chairman in mini-reshuffle

7 February 2023, 17:33

Lee Anderson has courted controversy for his views on the scale of food bank use in the UK
Lee Anderson has courted controversy for his views on the scale of food bank use in the UK. Picture: Parliament TV

By Adam Solomons

An outspoken Tory MP who said those earning £30,000 shouldn't need food banks has been appointed deputy party chairman in Rishi Sunak's Cabinet reshuffle.

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Lee Anderson has been the member for Ashfield since 2019. He was nicknamed "30p Lee" by fellow backbenchers for his spendthrift advice during the cost of living crisis.

Anderson's promotion came as Rishi Sunak sought to give his government a facelift, creating four new government departments and replacing ex-party chairman Nadhim Zahawi with Greg Hands.

Nottinghamshire MP Anderson has courted controversy for his views on the cost of living crisis and for 'transphobic' comments about comedian Eddie Izzard.

Anderson said he "would not be following [Izzard] into the toilets" if she ever visited parliament. The Metropolitan Police declined to investigate after a local councillor reported Anderson for alleged 'hate crimes'.

Read more: James O'Brien destroys Tory MP Lee Anderson for using his staffer as 'a human shield'

Read more: Tory MP '30p Lee' Anderson filmed swiping hat from Stop Brexit's Steve Bray, labelling him a 'parasite' and a 'scrounger'

Anderson has been outspoken during the cost of living crisis
Anderson has been outspoken during the cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

A former Labour councillor and notable Brexit backer, Anderson will serve under newly appointed party chairman and Remain support Greg Hands.

Anderson also boycotted the Euro 2020 final involving the England men's team in protest at players taking the knee before the match.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps will now be Energy Security and Net Zero Secretary, while ex-international trade secretary Kemi Badenoch will now lead a larger Department for Business and Trade.

Ex-Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan moves from her current role to a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. Lucy Frazer joins the Cabinet with the culture brief.

Anderson scuffles with anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray
Anderson scuffles with anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray. Picture: Alamy

The Government said: "The changes will ensure the right skills and teams are focussed on the Prime Minister's five promises: to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, cut waiting lists and stop the boats.

"A new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has been tasked with securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills and halving inflation.

"The move recognises the significant impact rising prices have had on households across the country as a result of Putin's illegal war in Ukraine, and the need to secure more energy from domestic nuclear and renewable sources as we seize the opportunities of net zero.

Sunak has sought to give his government a facelift
Sunak has sought to give his government a facelift. Picture: Alamy

"A dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology will drive the innovation that will deliver improved public services, create new and better-paid jobs and grow the economy.

"Having a single department focussed on turning scientific and technical innovations into practical, appliable solutions to the challenges we face will help make sure the UK is the most innovative economy in the world.

"A combined Department for Business and Trade will support growth by backing British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade.

"Finally, a re-focused Department for Culture, Media and Sport will recognise the importance of these industries to our economy and build on the UK's position as a global leader in the creative arts."

James O'Brien isn't impressed by the latest Tory Cabinet reshuffle...

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