Lee Anderson refuses to apologize for Islamists' allegation of Sadiq Khan

  • Written by Kate Whannell
  • Political correspondent, BBC News

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FORMER miner Lee Anderson has joined the Conservative Party after previously working for a Labor MP

Former Conservative Party deputy leader Lee Anderson said his words were clumsy, but refused to apologize for suggesting that Sadiq Khan was controlled by Islamists.

Mr Anderson was suspended as a Conservative MP after his comments, which he says were made out of frustration with the London Mayor's record.

Rishi Sunak described the Ashfield MP's comments as wrong but avoided saying whether he thought they were anti-Islam.

Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister lacked the “backbone” to stamp out Islamophobia.

The Labor leader told reporters: “This is really fundamental. Islamophobia is something every political leader should be calling out for, and the Prime Minister is not calling out for it because he is too weak.”

“It shouldn't be difficult to criticize comments that are unequivocally ignorant, biased and racist. Yet those at the top of the Conservative government stubbornly refuse to do so.”

The row was sparked by comments made by Mr Anderson during a GB News discussion on Friday afternoon.

“I don't actually think the Islamists have taken over our country, but what I do think is they've taken control of Khan, they've taken control of London, they've taken control of London,” Anderson said. Starmer too.”

He later added: “People are coming in their thousands, doing anything they want, and they are mocking our police. This is due to Khan. He gave our capital to his colleagues.”

Mr. Anderson was responding to Daily Telegraph article Written by former Interior Secretary Suella Braverman, she said: “The truth is that Islamists, extremists and anti-Semites are now in charge.”

Braverman said Islamists “bullied Labor” over its stance on the war in Gaza, and that some people who participated in pro-Palestinian marches had links to Islamists.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sunak said Anderson's choice of words “was not acceptable, it was a mistake, that's why the whip was suspended”.

He said that parliamentarians “must” not raise the debate “in a way that is harmful to others.”

The Prime Minister also denied the existence of anti-Islamic tendencies in his party.

Asked whether Anderson could be reinstated into the party if he apologized for his comments, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “I will not second guess what future decisions the chief whip might make… It would be a good start for Lee to reflect on what he said and do what he has been asked to do.” Retract those comments and issue an apology.

“It is entirely up to him whether he will do that and then we can judge accordingly.”

In a statement issued via GB News – which employs the MP as a broadcaster – Mr Anderson said he would not say sorry.

“When you think you are right you should never apologize, because to do so would be a sign of weakness.

“My words may have been clumsy, but my words were made out of sheer frustration at what is happening to our beautiful capital.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper asked Sunak to “make clear that… [Lee Anderson] “They will not be allowed to return to the Conservative Party.”


Labor Party leader Anneliese Dodds urged the Conservatives to adopt a definition of Islamophobia. As I put it By the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims.

However, Business Minister Kemi Badenoch said the Conservatives had instead chosen to use the term “anti-Muslim hatred”, adding that the definition supported by Labor would create a “back door blasphemy law”.

Baroness Warsi responded: “As you well know, a definition like the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism is an operational, non-legally binding definition, not a ‘law’.”

She also said the government had been “lagging behind in taking any action to address this form of racism.”

In 2019, the Conservative Party launched an investigation into how the party handled allegations of discrimination, following allegations of Islamophobic behaviour.

The report found evidence of anti-Muslim views at the local association and individual levels, but said the evidence did not support allegations of “institutional racism.”

“Restricted areas”

Asked about Mr Anderson's comments on BBC Radio London, Paul Scally, a Conservative MP – and former London minister – said concerns that some places such as Tower Hamlets in London and Sparkhill in Birmingham had become “no-go zones” needed to be “addressed”. ” directed”.

He said: “Lee tends to shoot from the hip. Sometimes he goes too far. This is an occasion where he went too far.”

Birmingham Labor MP Jess Phillips urged Scully to apologize for his comments about Sparkhill, which she described as “absolute nonsense”.

Andy Street, the Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The idea of ​​a no-go zone in Birmingham is new to me, and I am suspicious of the good people in Sparkhill. It is really time for those in Westminster to stop with the slander and empty experiments.” The real world.”

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Sunak disagreed with Scully's comments, adding: “The Prime Minister has spoken before about the value of the very diverse societies and societies we have in the UK.”

In a later interview with BBC London, Scully denied that he had said that Tower Hamlets or Sparkhill were “no-go areas”, stressing that this was a “perception”.

“There are areas where there is a small minority of people who make people uncomfortable because they are not of their religion or culture, and who misinterpret their faith,” he said.

Mr Scully added: “If I spoke incorrectly or caused upset I apologise.”

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