Lee Anderson Says He Won't Apologise To Sadiq Khan 'While I've Got A Breath In My Body'

MP, who was suspended from the Tory parliamentary party after being accused of Islamophobia, admits only to a "little bit of contrition".
Lee Anderson attends the Popular Conservatives conference in February.
Lee Anderson attends the Popular Conservatives conference in February.
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Lee Anderson is unrepentant about comments branded as Islamophobic that led to him being suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party.

Last week, the Tory party’s former deputy chairman said London mayor Sadiq Khan has “given our capital city away to his mates”, and “Islamists” had “got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London”, referring to pro-Palestine protests in the capital in recent weeks.

The party whip was removed from Anderson after he made the comments on Friday – but Rishi Sunak has since insisted that while his words were “wrong”, Anderson is not “a racist person or an Islamophobic person”.

In an interview with GB News broadcast on Monday, Anderson admitted his language was “clumsy” – but remained fully behind the sentiment.

He told the broadcaster: “I think the party could have given me a little bit more backing, if I’m honest.

“You saw the statement that I produced on Saturday, which I was willing to go with. It’s shown a little bit of contrition in there, although I didn’t directly apologise to Mayor Khan, which I’m not going to, not while I’ve got a breath in my body because the comments I made weren’t racist at all.

“They keep bandying this word Islamophobia and nobody can explain what it really means.”

After being suspended, Anderson said in a statement: “Following a call with the chief whip, I understand the difficult position that I put both he and the prime minister in. With regard to my comments, I fully accept that they had no option but to suspend the whip in these circumstances.

“However, I will continue to support the government’s efforts to call out extremism in all its forms, be that antisemitism or Islamophobia.”

In the GB News interview, he also claimed to have had “lots of support in my WhatsApp, an amazing amount of support”.

When asked whether the support was all Tory MPs, he replied: “Yeah, there’s no Labour MPs.”

Writing in the Evening Standard newspaper, Khan said Anderson’s comments had “poured petrol on the fire” of hatred against Muslims.

He said some Conservatives were adopting “a deliberate, dangerous political strategy – a strategy to weaponise anti-Muslim prejudice for electoral gain”.


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