Ashfield MP Lee Anderson defects to Reform UK

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Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has left the Conservatives to join Reform UK.

Mr Anderson, who has been Ashfield’s MP since 2019, was suspended from the Conservative Party after refusing to apologise for saying Islamists had ‘control’ of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

He now becomes Reform UK’s first sitting MP.

Speaking at the announcement alongside Reform UK leader Richard Tice, Mr Anderson said: “I want my country back.

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Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has joined Reform UK. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAVAshfield MP Lee Anderson has joined Reform UK. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson has joined Reform UK. Photo: London Portrait Photoqrapher-DAV

"For the last year, or so, I’ve have to do a lot of soul searching on my political journey and I don’t expect much from politics other than to be able to speak my mind and speak on behalf of of my friends, family and constituents.

"I sometimes might not know all of the long words people use in Parliament but I know the short ones and this sometimes leads me to be labelled as controversial in my opinions.

"But my opinions are not controversial – they are opinions which are shared by millions of people up and down the country.

"It’s not controversial to be concerned about illegal immigration, it’s not controversial to be concerned about legal migration and it’s not controversial to worried and concerned about the Metropolitan Police, a failing London mayor and the hate marchers and the street crime and the shoplifters literally getting away with ruining businesses on a daily basis.

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"It’s not controverisal to fight back in a culture war which is sweeping our nation.

“I am proud of our great country and the gifts it has given to the world over hundreds of years, gifts like the industrial revolution, railways, sports medicines such as vaccines which have saved hundreds of millions of lives.

"We have defeated facism in two world wars, we have always punched above our weight on the international stage.

"But now, like millions of people in this country, I feel that we are slowly giving our country away, we are giving away our way of life, we are allowing people to erase our history, we are giving up our streets to a minority of people who literally hate our way of life.

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"We are allowing people into our country who will never integrate and adopt our British values and Parliament doesn’t seem to understand what many British people want and, quite frankly, some of them need to get out more.

"I made some remarks a few weeks back about the London mayor for which I was stripped of the whip by the Conservative Party and let me be clear right now, I will not apologise.

"It is no secret that I’ve been talking to my friends in Reform for a while and Reform UK has offered me the chance to speak out in Parliament on behalf of millions of people up and down the country who feel that they’re not being listened to.”

Mr Tice said: “We’re going to replace the Tories in the red wall, which means we need a champion of the red wall, someone who completely understands it, who is trusted by voters to tell it as it is, no nonsense, no waffle, just clear, basic common sense and I’m delighted that I have found that champion of the red wall for Reform UK.”

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Reform tried to woo Mr Anderson to join them back in January after he rebelled against the Government in the vote on the Rwanda bill.

At the time, however, Mr Anderson said he felt the Conservative Party was the best place for him and he would be standing as a Tory candidate at the election.

However, he has now changed course and joined Reform.

The move has been criticised by Coun Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind), Ashfield Council leader, who will stand against Mr Anderson in the forthcoming general election.

He said: “Lee Anderson has had more parties than Boris Johnson did in Downing Street.

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"The fact that he is defecting to another ram-shackle, right-wing political party is the worst kept secret in Ashfield.

"People in Ashfield just want an MP to speak up for their concerns and deliver results for them.

"Living standards in Ashfield have plummeted since Anderson became the MP and these shenanigans do not help a single struggling family here.

“Ashfield people do not want the continuing soap opera of Lee Anderson.

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"Lee Anderson has been an accident waiting to happen for the Tories – but he sleeps easy at night as he carries out the end of his car-crash of a career in a £100,000 job a year with GB News.

"The people of Ashfield deserve better.

"If Lee Anderson truly cared about local people then today’s announcement would have been his resignation.”