Labor calls for Liz Truss and Lee Anderson to lose Tory whip | Conservatives

Liz Truss and Lee Anderson are both set to lose the Tory whip post over controversial media appearances that have caused unrest and anger in Tory ranks, campaigners and opposition politicians have said.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday, Shadow Treasurer General Jonathan Ashworth said the “egregious” remarks made by the two men “cannot go unchecked or unchallenged”.

It comes after Anderson, the former Conservative vice president, suggested during a Friday night appearance on GB News that London Mayor Sadiq Khan had “given our capital” to “Islamists”. It is a common far-right cliché that Khan is close to radical Islam. Conservative figures have sought to make a false connection in the past.

Islamists control Sadiq Khan, says Tory MP Lee Anderson – video

Former Conservative chancellor Sajid Javid was among those who criticized Anderson’s comments, calling them “a ridiculous thing to say”. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps also distanced himself from the comments as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) called for Anderson to be expelled from the parliamentary party.

The MCB called the comment “disgusting” and criticized the party’s “silence in the face of such extremism”. A spokesperson added: “In a week when we are hearing of an explosion in Islamophobic hate crimes, influential MPs and a Conservative party donor are endorsing joint arguments that peddle conspiracy theories and Islamophobic tropes from so-called outlets of control over Muslims in our country. »

Business Minister Nus Ghani called her fellow Conservative MP’s comments “stupid and dangerous”.

In an article on X, she said: “I spoke to Lee Anderson. I spoke out against Islamic extremism (and was attacked by the far left, the far right and Islamists).

“I do not believe for a single moment that Sadiq Khan is controlled by Islamists. To say so is both foolish and dangerous. Honestly, it’s all so tiring…”

Truss, for her part, used a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) in the United States to claim that her efforts to cut taxes had been “sabotaged” by “the administrative state and the ‘deep state’.

The former prime minister later took part in an interview with Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon and remained silent as he called far-right figure Tommy Robinson a “hero.”

Javid criticized him for not challenging the comment, saying: “I hope every MP will confront such a statement head on. Liz really should know more.

‘We need a bigger bazooka’ for conservatives to act, Liz Truss tells CPAC – video

Asked Saturday about Anderson’s comments, Shapps said: “That’s certainly not how I would put it.” He told BBC Breakfast: “I think there are more concerns about the way some of these (pro-Palestinian) protests are going. In particular, what we saw projected in Parliament this week, but I certainly wouldn’t phrase things like that.”

The phrase “from the river to the sea” was reportedly bandied about in Parliament on Wednesday as protesters gathered in Westminster to call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Asked whether Anderson should lose the Conservative whip, Shapps said the matter was “a matter for the party itself”. The Defense Secretary refused to say whether the Ashfield MP was a good representative voice for the Conservative Party, saying only that “we live in a democracy where people are allowed to speak their minds and Lee Anderson, I thinks, is famous for expressing his opinions”. spirit”.

‘It’s not like I would say it’: Grant Shapps on Tory MP’s claim ‘Islamists’ control Sadiq Khan – video

Conservative colleague Gavin Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff in Number 10, called the comment a “despicable insult”.

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Sunak is being urged by Labor to “show leadership” and take action on both sets of remarks.

Ashworth said failure to do so would amount to “allowing the controversial, misleading and dangerous views of the far right into mainstream British politics and continuing to give credibility to such degradation of British institutions and cultural life on the international scene”.

Truss had claimed in his speech that conservatives were now “operating in a hostile environment” and that “left-wing elites” would be “aided and abetted by our enemies in China, Iran and Russia.”

Questioned by Bannon after her speech, Truss also said she was ready to work to change the Conservative Party with Nigel Farage, founder of Reform UK and former UKIP leader.

She suggested that Bannon, who faces fraud charges in New York, could “come to Britain and sort it out in Britain.”

In his letter to Sunak, Ashworth wrote: “For a senior politician to engage in the propagation of such blatant conspiracy theories is incredibly damaging to our democracy, our institutions and social cohesion. »

He added: “For a former Prime Minister to make such remarks, while on an international visit to a country with which the UK shares a special relationship that upholds liberal values, constitutes an unforgivable weakening of the office of Prime Minister, which diminishes the influence of the United States. The position of the Kingdom in the world and we must act accordingly.

“It’s time to show leadership and confront the extremists in your party. Liz Truss and Lee Anderson must no longer sit as Conservative MPs. Their words cannot go unchecked or unchallenged.

Downing Street has been contacted for comment.

A Conservative Party source said: “Lee was simply making the point that the Mayor, in his capacity as PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) of London, has failed miserably to control the appalling Islamist protests we have seen in London. recently. »

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