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Met Police assess hate speech complaint against Lee Anderson after Sadiq Khan rant

Ex-deputy Tory chairman faces investigation after accusing London mayor of being under control of Islamists

Jane Dalton
Wednesday 28 February 2024 21:59 GMT
Rishi Sunak refuses to call Lee Anderson Islamophobic

The Metropolitan Police say they are assessing a report of hate speech made against MP Lee Anderson after he accused the mayor of London of being controlled by Islamists.

Scotland Yard said a report was received a day after the former Tory deputy chairman made the remarks that unleashed an Islamophobia row.

The Ashfield MP was stripped of the Conservative whip over the weekend after he claimed that “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan and that the first Muslim London mayor had “given away our capital” to such extremists.

The Met does not provide information on named individuals.

However, after a report in The Sun newspaper, the force said on Wednesday: “A report was made to police on Saturday, 24 February. Officers are assessing this report.”

The assessment could result in a full investigation or a dismissal because of a lack of sufficient evidence.

Mr Anderson’s comments sparked outrage across the political spectrum.

But the MP, who is now sitting in the House of Commons as an independent, has continued to refuse to apologise and said prime minister Rishi Sunak made a mistake in suspending him.

Instead, days after the first criticism, he launched a fresh attack on Mr Khan, accusing him of enjoying protest scenes in Whitehall that cause disruption to parliament and cast the government “in a bad light”.

Mr Anderson says Mr Sunak’s suspending him was a mistake (Jacob King/PA Wire)

When Mr Anderson was asked on Channel 5 News whether he would take back last week’s remarks, said he would probably change his words slightly, adding: “I think it’s all political. I think he almost enjoys seeing these scenes on Whitehall and on Parliament Square, which disrupts parliament, which puts my government in a bad light.

“I think he just turns a blind eye. It’s politics.”

The East Midlands MP has not ruled out standing for Reform UK, formerly known as the Brexit Party, at the next election.

GB News, the right-wing broadcaster that pays Mr Anderson a £100,000 salary, on top of his £86,584 MP’s pay, to present a show on its network, reported that he met Reform leader Richard Tice on Sunday, only 24 hours after being deprived of his Tory affiliation in the Commons.

Senior Conservatives have described Mr Anderson’s attack on Mr Khan as wrong, but have so far stopped short of describing them as “Islamophobic”.

The Labour London mayor has urged the prime minister to call the remarks racist and Islamophobic.

Critics said Mr Sunak’s reluctance to describe the comments as Islamophobic was weak.

Conservative MPs have struggled to answer clearly when asked to condemn Mr Anderson’s remarks, merely describing them as wrong.

Mr Sunak has been forced to deny the Conservative party has “Islamophobic tendencies”.

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