Lee Anderson

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Lee Anderson (born 6 January 1967) is a British politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire since 2019. Elected as Conservative, he was appointed as a Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in February 2023, but resigned from the post in January 2024 in order to vote for an amendment to the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill. The parliamentary whip was suspended in February 2024 after Anderson made comments about Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, leading him to switch his party affiliation to Reform UK the following month. Prior to his parliamentary career, he was a Labour councillor in Ashfield, but defected to the Conservative Party in 2018. Since 2023, Anderson has hosted a show on GB News and is reportedly being paid £100,000 per annum by the channel.

Lee Anderson in 2019

Quotes

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2019

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  • [On nuisance council tenants] People say, "They have got to live somewhere". That’s right, so my plan would be — and again, this is just my own personal opinion — that these people, who have to live somewhere, let’s have them in a tent, in the middle of a field. Six o’clock every morning, let’s have them up. Let’s have them in the field, picking potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o’clock, same again the next day. That would be my solution.
  • [M]ake out you know who I am, that you know I'm the candidate but not that you are a friend.
    • Phone call picked up by Anderson's microphone ahead of canvassing visit while being followed by reporter Michel Crick (working for the Mail+ website) during the 2019 general election campaign, as cited in "Ashfield candidate faces criticism over 'fake door knock'" BBC News (29 November 2019). Anderson had explained the phone call to the camera crew as "some leaflets have just come for me".
  • All throughout my time in the Labour Party, every meeting I went to, I always had my rant [...] They always used to say: "Why don’t you go and join the Tory party?" This went on for years. And then I did.
  • The Tory party's picked me for a reason: I'm an ex-miner in a mining town [...] I campaigned to Leave. They know my history. It's easier for somebody to vote for me if they see me as one of them. It probably makes it acceptable to vote Tory if it's an ex-pitman – rather than some posh Tory boy.

2021

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  • There should be no place in politics for MPs to make financial gain from private companies in return for lobbying.
    We are paid handsomely for the job we do and if you need an extra £100,000 a year on top then you should really be looking for another job.

2022

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  • What we do at the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget [...] We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day, and this is cooking from scratch.
  • [Asked by a Labour MP if food banks should be necessary in Britain.] I think you’ll see first-hand that there's not this massive use for food banks in this country.
    We’ve got generation after generation that cannot cook properly, they can't cook a meal from scratch, they cannot budget, the challenge is there. Come to Ashfield, come to a real food bank that's making a real difference to people’s lives.
  • [Responding to criticism following his comments about food banks] The last cooking session we did, which we publicised - where we had four MPs here - we made I think 180 meals for fifty quid, which is 30p each.
    So there's the real proof, so if people want to come here and have a go and we can teach them then surely they will stand back and say we can cook on a budget and thank you for doing it.
  • [On the possibility comedian Eddie Izzard, who identifies as transgender, might be elected to parliament.] Is that what's coming to parliament? I think it opens a whole new debate, mate. I’m going to be honest now, controversial as always, if he does get elected and I’m still here, I shouldn't be following him into the toilets.

2023

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  • [On a clash with anti-Brexit protester, Steve Bray.] He had a go at my weight. This is a man who was quite clearly out of condition. I'm trying to do something about it, but here is a challenge [...] He is a nuisance. And I've got a challenge for him: Meet me in the boxing ring. Let's do three rounds. And if I win, he never protests out there again. And if he wins, I'll go and protest with him.
  • This week I’ve been called lard a--- pot belly MP. I've been called a fat b------ all over Twitter. Most of them are hidden profiles, keyboard cowards.
    I used to watch Popeye as a kid. Every time he had his tin of spinach, he got stronger and that's what it is like for me every time I got one of these horrible comments. My haters are my motivators.
  • Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed. You know that, don't you? 100 per cent success rate. [...] Now, I'd be very careful on that one because you’ll get certain groups saying: "You can never prove it." Well, you can prove it if they have videoed it and are on camera – like the Lee Rigby killers. I mean, they should have gone, same week. I don’t want to pay for these people.
  • [Anderson said he was informed on a visit to Calais the migrants there were referring to the UK as El Dorado.] They are seeing a country where the streets are paved with gold – where, once you land, they are not in that manky little f------ scruffy tent [...] They are going to be in a four-star hotel. And they know that Serco is buying up houses everywhere to put them in for the next five years. Why wouldn't you come?
    For some reason, in this place, saying the obvious – they just call it populist. It's our job to represent opinions of people in our country. If people are angry about small boats, then we should be angry.
  • [Asked about a resolution] I'd send them straight back the same day. I'd put them on a Royal Navy frigate or whatever and sail it to Calais, have a standoff. And they'd just stop coming.
  • [On being told a 11 minute BBC interview could not be broadcast in full.] I’m asking you now not to play it. I can’t trust you to play the whole lot and be fair to me.
    We’re supposed to be talking about my role as a chairman. Listen, listen! We’re supposed to be talking about my role as deputy chairman, not the other stuff.
    You went off on a tangent … So don’t play it please. If you do, I will never give you anything again.
  • Look, we are a great country. We are a gift to the world. We are now an independent, trading, sovereign nation, a gift to the world. I keep saying this to anybody that will listen.
  • Look at the things we've done in the past. We've given railways, we've given technology, the Industrial Revolution, arts, culture, Dickens, Shakespeare, sports. Look at, you know, football, tennis, rugby, golf – everything that's good in this world started on this great island of ours.
  • [On Tim Davie, BBC director-general, who has advocated for diversity in recruitment] I wrote to him and pointed out that since the BBC started having director-generals in 1927, they've all been white. I asked, why don't you resign and give the job to a black person? He never responded.
  • [On people in high positions] They've gone woke, haven't they? They're hypocrites. They want things to be done but they want somebody else to do it. People are saying that I'm stoking the culture wars. Well, I'm not. I'm just fighting back. I'm just saying, shut up.
  • [The BBC is] a safe haven for perverts.
  • In just a few months time, young men and young women from all over the country will be going to university, a place of learning. They're going to have a good time, they're going to work hard and hopefully get better careers.
    But in the meantime, in our universities there are a certain group of people who are trying to influence and indoctrinate our young people.
  • [Ten years ago (presumably in 2013), his son began studies at the University of Sheffield] I didn't see him for months, he came back different. He had long hair, he had a beard. His clothes were different, a different attitude and outlook on life. I thought – "my goodness, Harry, what's happened to you."
    He sat down with me on the settee, he put his arm on my hand and he says: "Dad, I've been away for a few months now and I've come back and I'm not the Harry that went away all those months ago. I'm different now, I'm a different person."
  • [Anderson said his son had become a vegetarian] Shocking, absolutely shocking. Let that be a warning to you
  • If they don't like barges then they should f*** off back to France.
  • These people come across the Channel in small boats ... if they don't like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France, or better not come at all in the first place.
  • [After recalling his suggestion to Boris Johnson around 2021] But I don't think it's fair on the Falkland Islands to be honest; they don’t want these illegal migrants going down there. There's a better option: we can keep them on British soil, if you like. We've got the Orkneys or some remote Scottish island.
    I know it's a bit parky [cold] up there this time of year. But if people are genuinely escaping war or persecution then a nice Scottish island with a few outbuildings would be suitable. This is a beautiful country. Parts of Scotland are a 'go to' destination, the remote islands – I'd like to be able to afford a place up there.
    If we can get some accommodation up there, keep these people safe – these people want to be safe, they're fleeing so-called persecution from these war-torn countries. If we can find an island in the Orkneys or up there that's got no one on there to start off with, put some decent accommodation on, then it's job done.
  • Now there is — we're not taping this, are we? [laughter] — there is a political party that begins with an R that offered me a lot of money to join them. I say a lot of money, I mean a lot of money. ... And I wouldn't join them, OK, because we've a got by-election in Mid-Beds next week. Reform have got a candidate.

2024–present

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  • I think he needs to pipe down a little bit because if the unthinkable happens and next year, we do get a Labour government and Richard Tice is on his media platforms saying what a disaster 'Starmergeddon' and what a disaster the Labour Party are, I shall be reminding Mr Tice it was him that helped them get elected.
  • I was going to vote no. I went into the no lobby to vote no, because I couldn't see how I could support the bill after backing all the amendments. I got into the no lobby and I spent about two or three minutes with a colleague in there. The Labour lot were giggling and laughing and taking the mick and I couldn't do it: In my heart of hearts, I couldn't vote no.
    So I walked out and abstained.
  • [I]t was them that gave me the job [...] It was them that financially backed me, it's them that's protected me, it's them that's given me a political home [...] So why would I knife them in the back?
    • As cited by Amy Gibbons in "No 10 could reinstate Lee Anderson as deputy Tory chairman", The Telegraph (24 January 2024
    • After replying "no" when asked if there was "any conceivable world" in which he would join Reform. He was expressing his "debt of gratitude" to the Conservatives. He said he should have voted for the Rwanda bill and No 10 had commented: "we have a lot of time for Lee".
  • 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 [Sadiq] Khan, and they've got control of London.
  • He's actually given our capital city away to his mates
  • If you are wrong, apologising is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. But when you think you are right you should never apologise because to do so would be a sign of weakness.
  • There's not been a turning point. We all know that sometimes politicians are about as trustworthy as journalists in what they say and do.

About Lee Anderson

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  • Anderson thinks he understands Britain, and in some ways he does. But what he's missed is our saddest trait: feeling ashamed to ask for help. Hardly anyone is going to a food bank as a jolly, and when there are now more food banks in the UK than branches of McDonald's, it's clear where the demand really is in Britain today.
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