Lee Anderson suspended from Conservative Party after claiming 'Islamists have control of Sadiq Khan'

24 February 2024, 15:14 | Updated: 24 February 2024, 15:23

Lee Anderson has been suspended for his comments about Sadiq Khan
Lee Anderson has been suspended for his comments about Sadiq Khan. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Lee Anderson, the former deputy chairman of the Conservatives, has been suspended from the party after claiming that Sadiq Khan was controlled by Islamists.

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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 was responding to a claim by former Home Secretary Suella Braverman that Islamists were in charge of Britain.

A spokesperson said on Saturday afternoon that Mr Anderson had been suspended from the Conservative party for refusing to apologise for his comments.

Pressure had been growing on the Conservatives to act as Mr Anderson's comments were criticised by Labour and Tories. Mr Khan himself said Mr Anderson's comments sent the message that Muslims were "fair game". Conservative former Cabinet minister Sir Sajid Javid said the comments were "ridiculous".

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Lee Anderson
Lee Anderson. Picture: Alamy

Labour had called for Mr Anderson to lose the whip, alongside Liz Truss for saying she had been "sabotaged" as Prime Minister by the "deep state".

Labour shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth earlier wrote to the Prime Minister to say that the "egregious" remark"cannot go unchecked or unchallenged".

Mr Healey told LBC's Matthew Wright that what Ms Truss and Mr Anderson said "can't go unchecked and unchallenged and so that's why Labour's written to Sunak" to suggest taking the whip away.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said he would not have used the same language as his fellow Conservative MPs but did not say they should lose the whip.

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Ms Truss had used a talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) in the US to claim her efforts to cut taxes were "sabotaged" by the "administrative state and the deep state".

The former prime minister, whose disastrous mini-budget in 2022 unleashed economic chaos, later took part in an interview with Steve Bannon and remained silent as he hailed far-right figure Tommy Robinson a "hero."

She was criticised for not challenging the comment by senior Tory MP Sir Sajid Javid, who wrote in a post on X: "I'd hope every MP would confront such a statement head on. Liz should really know better."

Ms Truss had claimed in her speech that Conservatives are "now operating in what is a hostile environment" and that "left-wing elites" will be "aided and abetted by our enemies in China, Iran and Russia".

Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss
Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss. Picture: Alamy

Interviewed by Mr Bannon after her speech, she also said she was willing to work with Nigel Farage to change the Conservative Party.

And she suggested the former Donald Trump adviser, who is facing fraud charges in New York, could "come over to Britain and sort out Britain".

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Ashworth wrote: "For a senior politician to engage in spreading such blatant conspiracy theories is incredibly damaging to our democracy, our institutions and social cohesion."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

He added: "For a former prime minister to make such remarks, while on an international visit to a country with whom the UK shares a special relationship which upholds liberal values is an unforgivable lowering of the office of prime minister which lessens the United Kingdom's standing in the world and needs to be acted upon.

Ms Truss resigned in October 2022 after the fallout from her botched financial statement, becoming the country's shortest-serving prime minister after just 49 days in office.

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Her speech at Cpac saw her sharing a stage with Mr Trump, whose presidential bid she all but directly endorsed, and Reform UK founder and former Ukip leader Mr Farage.

She said: "Conservatives are now operating in what is now a hostile environment and we essentially need a bigger bazooka."

She claimed that the “catastrophic reaction” to the budget that cost her her job had come from the “usual suspects” in both the media and the corporate world, as well as government, the Office of Budget Responsibility and the Bank of England.

She accused “the left” of undermining the Conservative-led British government because they “did not accept that they lost at the ballot box”.

“They’ve been weaponising our court system to stop us contorting illegal immigrants, they’ve been using the administrative state to make sure that conservative policies are faulted and they’ve been pushing their woke agenda through our schools, through our campuses, and even in our corporations,” she said.

Ms Truss also took aim at "Chinos" - conservatives in name only - saying: "It's people who think 'I want to be popular, I don't want to upset people, I don't want to look like a mean person, I want to attend nice dinner parties in London or Washington DC, I want my friends to like me, I don't want to cause trouble'.

"What those people are doing is they are compromising, and they are triangulating, and they are losing the argument."

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