Lee Anderson - Minister says ‘I very much want him to stay part of the  Conservative family’

Lee Anderson - Minister says ‘I very much want him to stay part of the  Conservative family’
Gabrielle Wilde

By Gabrielle Wilde

Published: 28/02/2024

- 16:16

Updated: 28/02/2024

- 16:59

Lee Anderson was suspended from the Tory party last week

A Government minister has indicated that he believes that Lee Anderson should have the Conservative whip restored and cast doubt on reports that he may be about to defect to Reform UK.

Asked if he expected Anderson to cross the floor of the Commons during PMQs, to mark his defection, Cabinet Office Minister Alex Burghart told GB News: “I very much hope not. What Lee said last week was a bit clumsy…I very much want him to stay part of the Conservative family.”

Pressed again if he thought Anderson might cross the floor, he said: “…I don't think we're going to see that today.”

He added: “If you look at the very carefully chosen words he put in the Express today, that's a good indication of how he sort of clarified some of his meaning. But, look, this is a matter for the Chief Whip. I’m not going to stray on to his territory.”

The comments came during a discussion during PMQs Live on GB News with Gloria De Piero and GB News Political Editor Christopher Hope.

PMQs LIVE: Alex Burghart joined Christopher Hope and Gloria De PieroGB News

He added after PMQs: “We have a chief whip who will be considering these things and considering what Lee said, clarifying his remarks and perhaps rowing back slightly from some of them, as I think he should do, because I think it's wrong…reading his piece in the Express morning, I think he recognises that, but as I say, we have an internal process.”

“…it was wrong for him to say what he said about the Mayor of London in that context. But he's subsequently said he was clumsy and I think he's right to do so.”

In response, Labour’s Stella Creasy said: “We all have a choice to make, because British politics is right now full of heat, not light. And you probably saw that in Prime Minister's Question Time.

“We've all got to go out and justify to our constituents actually, are we getting the work done? Are we doing things to make things better for your lives? Or are we just shouting and screaming at each other and using more and more extreme language?

“I don't want to live in Trump's America, I probably think you don't want to either Alex, we've got a choice to make, whether we're going to bring and import that kind of behaviour here. Or actually when it happens - just say sorry, Lee Anderson, because he can't say sorry, he said in the article, he's not going to apologise.”

Burghart said: “He says ‘I’m not criticising 99.99% of Muslim people in this country, what I am saying is that there are a very small minority of extremists who we have to call out’ and I think that's absolutely right.

“One of my friends and colleagues was killed by an Islamic extremist. I've had one of my colleagues have their office burnt down by extremists, and we've had protests outside of a colleague's house.

“These are very sensitive subjects, and it's quite right that MPs feel that they can stand up to that tiny minority of extremists.”

Creasy responded: “I've read the fact that he says he's not going to apologise, I think you're saying that that language is okay. But when he tried to say that Sadiq Khan, because of his religious background, was connected to all these people, that that is an okay thing for a politician to say. I don't think you believe that, Alex.

“I just think we've got to the position in British politics now where people have to take sides. Let's come together and say actually we don't want Trump's America here. We want a reasoned discussion.”


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