Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Lee Anderson given standing ovation at Tory fundraiser after Liz Truss hug

Anderson was stripped of the Tory whip last weekend after he accused Sadiq Khan of being controlled by Islamists

Patrick Daly
Saturday 02 March 2024 17:35 GMT
Lee Anderson was suspended from the Conservative Party over comments he made about London Mayor Sadiq Khan
Lee Anderson was suspended from the Conservative Party over comments he made about London Mayor Sadiq Khan (Victoria Jones/PA)

Lee Anderson attended a Conservative fundraiser with Liz Truss where she greeted him with a hug and the words “who is this de-whipped Tory?”, reports suggest.

The former Tory deputy chairman, who has been suspended as a Tory MP, is said to have been given a standing ovation by those in attendance.

Labour said the news “beggars belief”.

A report in the Daily Express suggested Mr Anderson was at a dinner to raise money for Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith on Friday.

The newspaper published a photo which it says showed Mr Anderson, Ms Truss and Mr Clarke-Smith posing together at the fundraiser.

Labour has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ban Mr Anderson from raising funds for the Tories while he is without the party whip.

Lee Anderson was reportedly given a standing ovation when he turned up at a Tory ‘Red Wall’ fundraiser (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ashfield MP Mr Anderson was stripped of the Tory whip last weekend after he accused Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, of being controlled by Islamists.

The comments were made on GB News.

Mr Anderson, who is paid £100,000 a year to be host on the TV channel, said: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London, and they’ve got control of Starmer as well.

“People are just turning up in their thousands, and doing anything they want, and they are laughing at our police. This stems with Khan, he’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

The comments were made during a discussion about pro-Palestine protests that have been taking place in central London since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and subsequent Israeli invasion of Gaza.

The outspoken “Red Wall” MP has refused to apologise for the remarks despite Mr Sunak labelling them “wrong”.

The former Labour councillor has also refused to rule out potentially standing for Reform UK, the former Brexit Party, at the next election.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow paymaster general, said: “It beggars belief that, far from being suspended from the Tories as Rishi Sunak told us, here he is: Lee Anderson, parading around the North Notts rubber chicken circuit with none other than Liz Truss.

“Given Rishi Sunak deems Mr Anderson as unfit to be a Tory MP, he now needs to bar him from fundraising for the Tory Party.

“Unless he takes action, Rishi Sunak will again be exposed as weaker than ever, and out of control of his chaotic, divided party.”

Liz Truss is said to have greeted Anderson with a hug (EPA)

According to the Express, Friday’s event in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, with Ms Truss was designed to raise money for Mr Clarke-Smith’s re-election campaign ahead of a general election expected this year.

Ms Truss had been due to speak about her brief tenure in No 10 in 2022, including the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, before her mini-budget helped send the economy tumbling, leading to her being ousted after just 44 days in office.

Labour has previously called for Ms Truss to have the Tory whip removed after her attendance at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference in the US.

While at the event last month, she claimed her efforts to cut taxes were “sabotaged” by the “deep state”.

The former Tory leader later took part in an interview with Steve Bannon, who served as a senior White House aide to former Republican president Donald Trump, and remained silent as he hailed British far-right figure Tommy Robinson a “hero”.

Mr Sunak on Friday, in an address to the nation from Downing Street, warned that extremist forces in Britain were “trying to tear us apart”.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in