Racism claims and 'forced labour camps': The most controversial new Tory MPs who won seats in general election

Several of 108 incoming Conservatives faced allegations during election campaign

Chris Baynes
Friday 13 December 2019 22:16 GMT
Tory MP candidate Lee Anderson says 'nuisance tenants' should be forced to live in fields and pick potatoes at 6am every morning

A newly elected MP under investigation over alleged racism and another who said “nuisance tenants” should have to live in forced labour camps are among Conservatives who will take up their places on the Commons benches.

Several of the 108 new Tory MPs who will sit in parliament for the first time next week survived campaigns dogged by controversy to emerge victorious in the general election.

These are the most contentious candidates elected on Thursday night.

Sally-Ann Hart (Hastings and Rye)

The Conservatives have defied calls to suspend Ms Hart, who faces ongoing party investigations over alleged Islamophobia and antisemitism and who also sparked fury by suggesting disabled people should be paid less.

The Tories first launched a probe into the local councillor after she shared a video on Facebook which implies the Jewish philanthropist George Soros controls the European Union, and also “liked” a Nazi slogan. The party later expanded the investigation after Ms Hart endorsed a blog post by an anti-Islam activist claiming Muslim organisations were trying to brainwash young Americans.

Last week, the controversy surrounding the candidate deepened when she told an election hustings that some people with learning disabilities should be paid less because “they don’t understand money”.

The remarks were met with boos and jeers, but Ms Hart was still elected by more than 4,000 votes in ex-home secretary Amber Rudd’s former seat.

Lee Anderson (Ashfield)

A candidate in a key marginal, Mr Anderson sparked anger during his election campaign by posting a video on Facebook arguing that “nuisance tenants” should be forced to live in tents and pick potatoes.

Speaking directly to the camera, he said: “My plan would be … 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 current seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o'clock, same again the next day. That would be my solution."

Rival parties liked the idea to "forced labour camps," accusing Mr Anderson of "entrenching division" and "targeting vulnerable people". But the video did not stop him replacing Labour’s outgoing MP Gloria De Piero from the Nottinghamshire seat which the Tories had not won since 1977.

Anthony Browne (South Cambridgeshire​)

Another candidate who Boris Johnson faced calls to suspend, Mr Browne was accused of “disgusting racism” after it emerged he had written a 2003 column in The Spectator which blamed immigrants for spreading HIV and bringing “germs” into Britain.

A former policy adviser to the prime minister during his time as mayor of London, Mr Browne wrote: "From exotic cuisines to driving entrepreneurialism, Third World immigration brings many good things to this count

He went on to say in the column that "infected immigrants" arriving in the UK were "doubling the rate of HIV".

In a 2002 book titled Do We Need Mass Immigration?, Mr Browne also reported accused Muslims of having divided loyalties.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said the remarks were "made over 15 years ago, Anthony Browne has apologised for these comments and sincerely regrets them."

Mr Browne beat second-placed Lib Dem Ian Sollom by nearly 3,000 votes to win election in South Cambridgeshire.

Brendan Clarke-Smith (Bassetlaw)

Mr Clarke-Smith faced shouts of "shame on you" during an election hustings after he said food banks were a "political weapon" and it was "simply not true" that "people can't afford to buy food on a regular basis".

"If you keep saying to people that you’re going to give stuff away, then you’re going to have an increase I’m afraid," he added, according to the Daily Mirror.

The Tory candidate comfortably won the target seat, beating Labour's Keir Morrison by more than 14,000 votes.

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