LIb Dems demand that Sunak removes the Whip from Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson has spent most of the past 2 years saying horrible things to excite the Tory right. From telling anyone unhappy with how the UK treats migrants could “f**k off back to France” to saying that people should be able to feed themselves for 30p per day, giving him his “30p Lee” nickname, to horribly transphobic comments about Eddie Izzard, he has been one of the commanders of the Tory culture wars.

Last night, talking to GB News, he took it all a step further by being unambiguously racist and islamophobic about London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

From the BBC:

He told GB News Islamists had “got control” of Mr Khan and he had “given our capital city away to his mates”.

His words, which follow pro-Palestinian protests outside Parliament, have also been condemned by Tories.

Not condemned enough by Tories as the same article reports a Conservative source trying to play down what he had said. The fact that he still had the Tory whip 5 minutes after making these comments is an absolute disgrace. As the hours drag on, this looks increasingly like Rishi Sunak is either too weak to discipline Anderson or he agrees with him.

Anyone with an ounce of decency has called on Rishi Sunak to remove the Conservative whip from Anderson for these comments, including Labour’s Annaliese Dodds and Theresa May’s former Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. Here’s what Lib Dem MPs have been saying.

Daisy Cooper said:

These comments from a Conservative MP are despicable. Rishi Sunak should remove the Conservative whip. There should be no space for this in our country, let alone in our Parliament.

Tim Farron:

This isn’t dog whistle, it’s fog horn. Sunak will remove the whip for this if he has an ounce of either decency or strength.

Munira Wilson:

Utterly disgusted by Lee Anderson’s racist comments. Stirring up hatred and tension in our great capital city in this way is downright dangerous. If Sunak has an ounce of decency and courage, he will kick Anderson out of the Tory party.

Alistair Carmichael:

This is entirely wrong and harmful from Lee Anderson, and comes after a similarly malign attack by the Conservatives in recent weeks. Criticise Sadiq Khan all you like on policy but these dog whistle arguments about his character have no basis and no justification.

Beyond Westminster, Lib Dem AM Caroline Pidgeon:

I’m not going to repost the offensive remarks from a Conservative MP but words matter. This is racism and needs calling out and throwing out.
Scottish Lib Dem Leader Alex Cole-Hamilton:
This isn’t freedom of speech. This is racism. There should be no place for this in our Parliament. Lee Anderson should lose the whip and lose his job.
Mo Waqas wrote about the dangers of Suella Braverman’s article being a catalyst for Islamophobia yesterday:
Why must my faith be manipulated as a political pawn? As a liberal, I believe my views align with common sense, aiming for what’s best for the country. However, certain segments of the political elite persist in perpetuating the theatricality of identity politics. After reading Braverman’s article, I can’t escape the feeling that people sharing my faith are unfairly perceived as less British, their loyalties questioned. It’s disheartening to witness my religion become a casualty in the ongoing political drama.
Decent people can’t stand by while groups of people are targetted by those in positions of power. It’s up to all of us to challenge racism, anti-semitism, islamophobia, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and any other attack on people for being who they are. No good ever comes from this type of horribly divisive rhetoric.
Back in 2002, Theresa May told the Conservative Party Conference that they weren’t yet ready to return to Government. She said:
“Yes, we’ve made progress, but let’s not kid ourselves. There’s a way to go before we can return to government. There’s a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies, You know what some people call us: the nasty party,”
She ended up as the Home Secretary behind the “hostile environment” for immigrants and decrying the Human Rights Act. But I suspect even she is despairing at the depths being plumbed at the moment.
What this country needs more than anything at the moment is people from all parties to come together to promote a positive message of community, hope and celebration of each other as human beings to challenge the disgusting rhetoric coming from very high places. Make no mistake, Anderson’s words will be being circulated and targetted round social media with the aim of spreading division and racism. The rest of us need to come up with a much more potent antidote than we have found so far. Prejudice round every kitchen table, in every pub conversation, wherever we experience it needs to be challenged thoughtfully and effectively.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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5 Comments

  • Paul Barker 24th Feb '24 - 4:11pm

    Well – good riddance !
    Actually the reaction to Anderson that came closest to mine was a Tory who said She just felt so Tired. I am angry of course but Im tired of being angry. I just wish The Tories would go so we could stop having to argue with their nonsense.

  • Peter Martin 24th Feb '24 - 7:23pm

    If Islamophobia and transphobia are as widespread in the Tory Party as recent reports seem to suggest, shouldn’t there be an EHRC investigation?

    Why is no-one calling for one?

  • Mick Taylor 25th Feb '24 - 6:50am

    If the Tories had any decency they would throw Anderson out of the party, but I’m not holding my breath. The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.

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