Most Tory Members Think Suspending Lee Anderson Was A Mistake, Survey Finds

Anderson lost the Conservative whip in February.
Lee Anderson, ex-Tory MP
Lee Anderson, ex-Tory MP
Victoria Jones - PA Images via Getty Images

Almost two-thirds of Conservative members think the party was wrong to suspend Lee Anderson after his controversial remarks about London mayor Sadiq Khan, according to a new survey.

Anderson, who now sits as an independent MP for Ashfield, was booted out of the Conservative Party after he failed to apologise for claiming “islamists” had “got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London”.

The GB News host was previously the party’s deputy chairman, but stepped down in a row over the Rwanda bill in January.

According to a survey from Conservative Home, 64.18% of 751 respondents thought the Tories should not have suspended him.

That’s more than double the proportion who thought the Tory party had acted correctly (30.89%).

Just 4.93% of respondents replied to the survey with “don’t know”.

The survey, published on Sunday, noted that “Anderson has long had the affective of some of our survey panel”, especially as he was Conservative Home’s backbencher of the year in 2022.

Conservative Home has previously found that more than half of its panel now watch GB News, where the ex-Tory hosts a weekly show called Lee Anderson’s Real World.

Anderson reportedly received a standing ovation at a party fundraiser on Friday – and secured a hug from Liz Truss, too.

Former PM Truss has also caused some backlash for the Conservative Party lately, after she endorsed Donald Trump for the US presidency and blamed the “deep state” for her failed mini-budget.

She also failed to challenge former Trump adviser Steve Bannon during an interview when he praised far-right agitator Tommy Robinson.

So, on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the host asked chancellor Jeremy Hunt if Truss should be kicked out of the Conservative Party too.

Kuenssberg began: “Rishi Sunak made a surprise speech about extremism on Friday night, after the election of George Galloway in Rochdale.

“Now, this time last week, the former Conservative MP Lee Anderson was booted out of the party for comments many people believe, and we heard in the studio, were Islamophobic and anti-Muslim.

“The former PM turned up at an event with him a couple of days ago – if she was happy to appear alongside him, even though he’s been booted out, should she face some sort of consequences too?”

“Well, that’s a matter for the Conservative Party,” Hunt replied.

Kuenssberg noted that Hunt is part of the Conservative Party.

The chancellor replied: “Well, I know. I think the Conservative Party has been very clear and decisive that what Lee Anderson said was wrong.

“It was interpreted by many people as fuelling anti-Muslim hatred, and divisions, and he was given the chance to apologise – he didn’t. We took very clear actions.

“I think people know where the Conservative Party stands.”


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