New Tory deputy chair Lee Anderson has a long, shameful history of offensive comments
The Conservative Party’s new deputy chair Lee Anderson is a divisive, controversial figure with a history of anti-LGBTQ+ comments.
There was likely some surprise, even among Tories, when Lee Anderson was announced as the party’s new deputy chair. The Nottinghamshire MP, nicknamed 30p Lee, is a former Labour councillor who defected to the Conservatives ahead of the 2019 election.
Since then, he’s made a name for himself as one of the party’s most outspoken figures. He’s waded into debates on immigration and gender recognition, and he’s come under fire for comments about Travellers, trans people and other sections of society.
His anti-LGBTQ+ comments are striking. Shortly after Eddie Izzard announced she would seek the Labour nomination in Sheffield, Anderson ranted that he would “not follow [her] into the toilets” on TalkTV.
Months later, he emerged as one of the Conservative Party’s most vocal critics of Scotland’s efforts to reform the Gender Recognition Act (GRA). Speaking to GB News, he accused Nicola Sturgeon of using “dirty tricks” to advance the cause for independence, insinuating that gender recognition reform was nothing more than a political ploy.
He went on to praise Rosie Duffield, the Labour MP who has spoken out repeatedly against trans rights, as “one of the bravest MPs” in parliament.
Lee Anderson said Black Lives Matter ‘undermines our very way of life’
Lee Anderson’s anti-LGBTQ+ comments aren’t even the most controversial statements he’s made. In 2019, while on the campaign trail, he posted a video on social media where he criticised “nuisance tenants” in a council estate for “making people’s lives a complete misery”.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he went on to argue they should be be evicted and forced to live in tents in a field where they would pick vegetables.
Around the same time, he and two other Conservative candidates became the subject of a party investigation after it was alleged that he was an active member of a Facebook group where members expressed support for far-right figure Tommy Robinson.
The investigation came in what was a turbulent election campaign for Anderson – at one point he was mocked for allegedly staging a door knock with a constituent. He was recorded telling a man to “make out you know who I am, that you know I’m the candidate but not that you are a friend”.
After Anderson was elected, the controversies kept racking up. In 2021, he refused to watch the England team’s matches at the Euro 2020 tournament because players were taking the knee, an anti-racist gesture. He described Black Lives Matter as a “political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life”.
Shortly afterwards, he hit out at the Traveller community in Ashfield, accusing them of stealing people’s lawnmowers and tools.
Anderson has also spoken out against refugees. Speaking in the House of Commons, he suggested most who arrive in the UK via routes deemed “illegal” by the government are “economic migrants” rather than “genuine asylum seekers”.
When told that the Home Office had concluded that the significant majority of those who arrive to the UK in boats are refugees, he said: “I think that is a fault of the old failing asylum system. When they get in they know how to fill the forms out.”
Why is Lee Anderson called 30p Lee?
Most will likely know Lee Anderson for his comments about food banks, which made widespread headlines.
He faced widespread backlash when he suggested that the problem was not the cost of living, but was actually down to a population that can’t cook or budget correctly. He claimed that everybody could cook their meals from scratch “for about 30 pence a day”, earning him the nickname 30p Lee.
More recently, he used one of his own staff to defend his point. He tweeted a photo of the employee, named Katy, boasting that she is paid £30,000 and is able to rent a room in central London, “save money every month, go on foreign holidays and does not need to use a food bank”.
Needless to say, Anderson’s comments went down like a ton of bricks with a population that is increasingly ravaged by inflation and persistently poor wages.
It seems likely Anderson’s appointment will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many struggling Brits.
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