Lee Anderson speaks exclusively to GB News: Transcript in full

Lee Anderson speaks exclusively to GB News: Transcript in full

WATCH NOW: Lee Anderson speaks exclusively to GB News

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 26/02/2024

- 22:15

Lee Anderson explains his comments made about London Mayor Sadiq Khan in an exclusive interview with GB News

Patrick Christys: I'm joined here in the Westminster studio by Conservative MP Lee Anderson and our Political Editor Christopher Hope. Lee thank you very much for joining us. You made some remarks that appeared to indicate that you think that Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London is under the control of Islamists. Would you like to clarify that?

Lee Anderson: Yeah, I was asked the question in this very studio last week when Chopper was interviewed by Martin Daubney of GB News, he mentioned the comments that Suella Braverman had made last week about Britain being under control of Islamists. And I said no it's not, it's not in control, the Islamists are not in control of the UK.

But I thought that London and Sadiq Khan was under the control. When I see the scenes out in Parliament Square last Wednesday, where we have thousands of people, and it happens every Wednesday, now it's almost every Wednesday.

But when they're beaming a light on to the Elizabeth Tower, the Big Ben Tower, it says from the rivers to the sea. And then we see just a few months back, the whole of Whitehall was taken over. We've seen threats, we've seen wicked chants, we've seen all sorts of horrible things said on these marches around our great city, in our great city, around Parliament.

And then we also see last Wednesday that I think that parliamentary procedure was altered, was changed, because of the threats from the baying mob outside. That's unforgivable. We should never, never bow down to the mob outside.

When I say all that, I think I have a right, I believe in free speech, to say that I think Mayor Khan and the police have lost control of the streets of London, I generally think they have.

And you have to remember, I have Jewish friends living in this capital city, this wonderful capital city that's helped build this city. And they are frightened to go out. They're frightened to identify themselves. They're having bodyguards at school or extra security at school. It's absolutely shocking what's happening, this should be the greatest capital city on this planet.

Patrick: To say that he's under the control of Islamists, though, do you regret that turn of phrase?

Lee: It may be a clumsy use of language, but you've got to remember Patrick, it was live TV. He's definitely not in control of the streets of London. On a Wednesday night, when we see the crowds out there chanting this vile venom, who's in control? Is it Sadiq Khan and the Metropolitan Police or the people on the street?

Christopher Hope: I say it though, Lee, because the point is that there's laws that stop you projecting words onto the building of Parliament. Martin Daubney, your colleague, filmed that projection that was being ignored by police. You can't blame that on Sadiq Khan. That's an operational issue by police.

Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson speaks to Patrick Christys

GB News

Lee: Has he spoken out about it, Chopper, since last Wednesday, from the rivers to the sea on Big Ben, has Sadiq Khan actually spoken out about it?

Christopher: No, he hasn't.

Lee: No, he hasn't spoken about it. And actually he is the police and crime commissioner of this great city. So if he is the police and crime commissioner and he's got no import into what the police are doing, what the hell is he doing? Why is he in that role?

Patrick: Is there an issue of double standards and snobbery here? We've seen similar remarks to the ones that you made by now Lord Cameron, Zac Goldsmith, when he was running to be Mayor of London, made very similar remarks to you. They are of a different, shall I say, social strata, aren't they? What's your views on that?

Lee: Well, they went to different schools, Patrick, and probably from a different background, more privileged than myself and I don't know because I wasn't around Parliament at the time when these comments were made by Zac and David Cameron,but I do know this, I'm in a lot more hot water for what I said than what my colleagues were several years ago.

So I don't know why. Maybe the narrative has changed a little bit over the years. I don't know. I don't know why we're pondering to these people. You know, I'm a big believer in free speech. I admit some of my speech was a little bit clumsy at times, but my sentiment is exactly the same.

We are losing control of this beautiful city to a tiny minority of extremists, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. It absolutely makes me sick to the pit of my stomach to see these extremists on our streets in London terrorising people and what do we say, it's unacceptable.

Christopher: But more recently than that, Suella Braveman wrote in the Telegraph last week, didn't she? She talked about the Islamists. You know, she spoke out against them and said that they are in a sense taking over parts of our society. That's Suella Braverman and then she still got the whip and you be had yours taken away, is that because you're a working class lad from Ashfield?

Lee Anderson

Lee Anderson has defended his comments after having the whip suspended

GB News

Lee: I don't know. I think the sort of argument is because I picked out one specific person, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London. But when I speak about Sadiq Khan and London, they're in the same breath. They are the same person. Sadiq Khan is London.

He runs London. He's responsible for everything. He is Mr London. So I stick by my words in that we have lost control or losing control of the city when people like I say Patrick, again and again, can come out and demonstrate and shout murderous chants and put these graphics onto onto Big Ben from the river to the sea and nothing happens.

We've got yobbo's running around with masks on, which is now illegal, and the police stand idly by and do nothing. Who has got control of Parliament Square? Is it the extremists or is it Mayor Khan and the Metropolitan Police?

Patrick: There is a marked difference in the reaction, as Chopper was alluding to you there, when it comes to certain people making very similar comments to you and yourself making those comments. Is there some sense that maybe you're an easier target because you're a working class bloke who maybe talks in more pub language?

Lee: Are you saying I'm a thick northerner Patrick?

Patrick: I'm certainly not.

Lee: I don't know. I suppose I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea and sometimes I do speak in a different language to a lot of people in Parliament and when I went into pubs in Ashfield at the weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, which I did, I've got a round of applause and I went in and these are normal working class people.

Some people over in that place might not like that sort of response, but this is what normal people are thinking. In places like Ashfield, my inbox has exploded with support. I cannot keep up with my WhatsApp messages, my text messages, my Facebook messages, Instagram, whatever social media platform I'm on. The amount of support coming through, it is absolutely phenomenal. They're saying Lee please speak out for us. Don't back down. Don't apologise because you're speaking for millions of people across the country.

Christopher: But have you picked the wrong target? The right target might be why did the police allow that to happen, why didn't they use the laws available on mask wearing on shining words on Parliament? Why didn't they do that, step in and enforce the law that you MPs have passed instead of getting involved in the battle about Islamism with the Mayor of London who obviously clearly denies all that. I mean, you've personalised a row and you've got yourself in trouble. Suella Braverman didn't do that and she's still got the whip. You made a mistake, right?

Lee: Chopper, I sit on the Home Affairs Select Committee and I do criticise the police on a regular basis. I've had the the Met boss in the chair and I did give him a bit of a roasting. I've had Home Office officials in there as well. So that's where I do my job, criticising the Metropolitan Police.

Now I can criticise them all day long. Are they listening? Probably not. And I feel sorry for the officers on the ground who I've got the greatest of respect for. But it's the chiefs. It's not the Indians, it's the chiefs, It's the Mayor Khan's and it's the boss of the Met Police. Now if Mayor Khan is not coming out on TV or any media channel and saying this is disgusting, what's happening on our streets in London, we should not have these graphics being flashed on to Big Ben. This is shocking. This is terrible. I will clamp down on this. If he's not saying that, then he's lost control and he can't blame the police for this. He controls the police. That's his job.

Patrick: Is there an overreaction from Rishi Sunak here and has he lost the red wall? Is that what he said?

Lee: I don't think so. Look, I've always said in the past 18 months or so, people in the Red Wall who voted Conservative for the first time are looking for a reason to vote for us again.

Christopher Hope

Christopher Hope grilled Lee Anderson on whether he would join the Reform Party

GB News

Patrick: In taking your whip away, has that done a huge amount of damage in the Red Wall?

Lee: I don't know. That remains to be seen, Patrick. I'm just one person, just one person who's got into a little bit of hot water over the past few days over comments that I made. I don't know, but my inbox suggests that there's a lot of support out there for what I have to say. But whether it affects the Red Wall or not, I don't know.

Christopher: Mayor Khan has written an article in today's Monday Evening Standard. He says that your comments were racist, anti Muslim and Islamophobic. And he goes on to say, why isn't Rishi Sunak like calling them out for what they are?

Lee: I mean, this is the man who's been in hot water himself for comments he's made in the past. I can remember when he was on, I think it was Iranian TV at one time calling people Uncle Tom's and had to make a a grovelling apology. So it's a bit rich coming from Sadiq Khan and he's also been on the platforms with, you know some dodgy people in the past.

Christopher: And he's apologised for those too, he said before I regret the impression I subscribed to their views and I'm quite clear I find their views abhorrent. He said sorry, why won't you?

Lee: I'm not sorry Chopper, because I stand by my words. It's not racist to call out Islamists. If you watch the clip again, it's been twisted. I never said he was an Islamist at all. But when I'm calling out these people, these people are organising these marches, these horrible marches, these cruel marches in London, when I call them out, I'm calling out a tiny minority of the Muslim population.

I said on my statement which I gave you this morning, that 99% or the vast majority of Muslims in this country, decent, hard working people that make a contribution. But there's a small section of this and it's the same with in all walks of society, any religion, there's a small percentage that will go out and cause problems.

Christopher: How many do you know who are Muslim, how many friends of yours are Muslim?

Lee: Well, I've got a few in parliament and a few back home.

Christopher: What do they say to you when they see your remarks?

Lee: Well, the ones in parliament, they're not very happy about the remarks. But what I say to them is my comments weren't racist. You can be a white person and be Muslim. You can be Chinese and be a Muslim. You can be an African and be a Muslim. So it's not racist.

And this Islamophobia, I don't really understand what that means other than you're criticising what's in the Quran or a religion. It's OK to criticise a religion. I don't believe that much in Christianity. I believe in evolution. But when I say that, are they going to say I'm Christianaphobic? I'm against Christians? No, I'm not. That's that's up to you. If you want to go to church and preach, it's up to you. If you're a Muslim, you do whatever you want to do. So Islamophobia is not racist. I don't even know why we've got this word.

Patrick: Do you think that there is a tendency to hide behind the word Islamophobia? Because now, rightly or wrongly, the conversation is more about almost entirely about actually Islamophobia as opposed to radical, fundamental, extreme Islamism, which many people believe is a problem, right? I would put it to you that although this absolutely obviously was not your intention, your comments have now allowed the conversation yet again, as we see so often in these situations, to be dragged back towards Islamophobia and away from trying to deal with radical terrorism and extremism.

Lee: Well, it is, but let's decide what Islamophobia is, Patrick. Is it blasphemy? Because I think that's sort of where we're going with this. If you blasphemy against the Lord, that is blasphemy. And I think Islamophobia is pretty much the same thing if you're a Muslim, these things aren't illegal. It's not illegal to criticise a religion at all in this country.

But we're talking about something completely different. We're talking about Islamists, a political ideology that are intent on interfering with parliament over there. While they didn't last week and it worked last week and it's very dangerous, Patrick, that due to the threats the Speaker, he felt that he had to change parliamentary process in that place because of threats to MPs. So this Islamists directly, could say it's indirect, but I think directly it's influencing what goes off in parliament.

Christopher: Does your party have a problem with Islamophobia? The government currently won't adopt any definition of Islamophobia, but not doing it is part of the problem, that the Tory party is like a blind spot on this issue.

Lee: I think it's it's equivalent to blasphemy. That's what it is, you're criticising the religion. What are the teachings in the Quran? Whatever is that? Are we entitled to do that?

Patrick: My interpretation what you're saying is from what you're criticising is you're criticising hard line religious fundamentalist political movement that you think is...

Lee: That probably happened to be Muslims like I say. But the vast majority, 99.9% of Muslims, are just decent, hard working people who crack on with the life. I've had a lots of support in my WhatsApp, an amazing amount of support.

Christopher: Is it all just Tory MPs saying well done, is it?

Lee: Yeah, there's no Labour MPs. I mean, they're calling me to be stripped the whip forever. Obviously they're making political gain out of this. Obviously it deflects from the shenanigans we saw last week, last Wednesday in the chamber. So if I've got one regret it's my timing because I've sort of took the heat off Sir Keir and the Speaker.

I feel a little bit sorry for the Speaker. I thought he was actually bullied into to what he did. He's always been a fair man with me anyway. So that's probably me but I have got some names in my phone now but I'm not going to tell you who they are. Some people it's actually surprised me with words of support.

Patrick: Why do you think they won't come out and publicly say it though, is that not part of the problem?

Lee: That's probably my job to do that, Patrick, because I never, never intended on having a career over there. I want to come down here and speak my mind. I want to speak up on behalf of people in Ashfield and the rest of the country.

Patrick: Is this not part of the problem though, Lee, as far as you're concerned, which is that you're saying we've got MPs who are coming out and supporting it, but they feel as though they can't come out and say that publicly?

Lee: Well, there might be several reasons for that, Patrick, whether they might get pressure from colleagues or from people camped outside the gates now or the media. There's lots of reasons. And I want to expect anybody to come out and I want to ask anybody to come out and say, look, come out publicly and support me. They've got their own reasons. They've got their own families. Their own jobs to crack on with and they'll do what's right for them. And that's fair enough by me.

Christopher: Where's it leave you now then, Lee? You're without a party. You were Labour councillor, weren't you until 19, the first time you became a Tory MP, the first time you voted Conservative. I mean that was your the journey you've been on. We've got a statement here from Richard Tice. I also present on GB News, I do not and will not give a running commentary on any discussions I have with my any MPs. Well, those MPs have my number after about 300 words supporting what you've done. I mean that's like a 311 word invitation to join the Reform Party, isn't it?

Lee: Like Richard says, Chopper, I won't give a running commentary either.

Christopher: That's not saying no then?

Lee: Well, I mean that's a typical journalist approach into it, it's a yes, no question. I have been on a political journey and it's been an incredible journey and I'm incredibly proud to be sat in there and we've done some good work since the Conservative Party despite what people think. But this is a distraction. It's a distraction that I really didn't want. But you know, there's 650 of us in that in that place over there, and we see what's going off on Parliament Square every single week now. It's terrifying. And if not one person in that chamber can speak up about what's going off on our streets, then really we shouldn't be there.

Christopher: But sorry, just a yes or no question. Will you join the Reform Party? You're not saying yes or no there. And Richard Tice saying clearly you'll be welcome in his party.

Lee: Yeah, well, like I said, Chopper, I've been on a political journey. So you'll spin this any way you want. You'll say Lee Anderson rules out, doesn't rule out joining the Reform Party and stuff like that. So I'm not going to comment on my future. I should be sat in the chamber this afternoon on the Conservative benches and there's no votes today, but there'll be votes tomorrow. I'll be voting with the government.

Patrick: Just lastly on this then, do you feel let down by Rishi Sunak over this?

Lee: I think the party could have given me a little bit more backing, if I'm honest. You saw the statement that I produced on Saturday, which I was willing to go with. It's shown a little bit of contrition in there, although I didn't directly apologise to Mayor Khan, which I'm not going to, not while I've got a breath in my body because the comments I made weren't racist at all. They keep banning this word Islamophobia and nobody can explain what it really means.

Christopher: And will you be a candidate for the Tory party in the next election?

Lee: Well, that's not up to me. That's out of my hands at the moment, Chopper. But I will be standing at the next election.

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