Election results: Tory who said ‘nuisance tenants’ should be made to live in tents and pick potatoes wins MP seat

Newly elected MP recently investigated over alleged antisemitism in pro-Boris Johnson group

Conrad Duncan
Friday 13 December 2019 08:52 GMT
Tory MP candidate Lee Anderson says 'nuisance tenants' should be forced to live in fields and pick potatoes at 6am every morning

A Tory candidate who said “nuisance tenants” should be forced to live in tents and pick potatoes at 6am has won his seat.

Lee Anderson, who is now the MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, defeated Labour by more than 7,000 votes to become the first Conservative MP for the constituency since 1977.

Mr Anderson was condemned in November after he posted a video in which he boasted about lobbying the local council to have “nuisances” evicted from an estate.

He said those tenants should be forced to live “in a tent in the middle of a field” after being kicked out of their homes.

“Six o’clock every morning let’s have them up, let’s have them in the field picking potatoes or any current seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o’clock, same again the next day,” Mr Anderson said.

The newly elected MP is part of a group of three Tory candidates who faced calls for suspension and an investigation over alleged antisemitism during the election campaign.

Mr Anderson was an active member of the Facebook group Ashfield Backs Boris, which included conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros and supporters of far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

The Conservative was also caught on camera asking a friend to pose as an anti-Labour swing voter to impress journalist Michael Crick.

Mr Anderson appeared to forget that he was wearing a live microphone as he phoned a friend to set up a supposedly random encounter.

“Make out you know who I am... you know I’m the candidate, but not a friend, alright?” he was recorded saying over the phone as he explained his plan.

The Conservatives won 19,231 votes in Ashfield, giving them a majority of 5,733.

Labour ended up in third place behind local independent candidate Jason Zadrozny, who was standing for the Ashfield Independents.

As a historic stronghold in Nottinghamshire, Ashfield was expected to be one of the bellwethers for Labour’s support in the party’s traditional seats.

Mr Anderson’s victory came as the Conservatives won a comfortable majority by sweeping through seats in the north and Midlands.

His comments on evicting tenants earlier in the campaign sparked an angry backlash, with the Liberal Democrats’ Layla Moran accusing him of showing “a lack of empathy towards those whom he aspires to represent”.

“As a Conservative parliamentary candidate in a marginal seat, Anderson should not be stoking and entrenching division, or targeting vulnerable people,” Ms Moran said in November.

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