LONDON: A outstanding former deputy chairman of Britain’s governing Conservatives, who was suspended from the get together over accusations of Islamophobia, has defected to the small right-wing populist Reform UK get together in a setback for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The transfer by Lee Anderson, a former miner who has courted controversy with trenchant views, comes months earlier than a nationwide election wherein Reform is predicted to attract votes away from the Conservatives and in doing so threaten Sunak’s re-election bid.
The lack of Anderson to a rival get together is a blow to Sunak, given he was appointed as deputy chairman final yr to attraction to voters in former Labour Celebration-voting heartlands referred to as the “Crimson Wall” that backed the Conservatives on the final election.
Final month the Conservatives suspended Anderson after he refused to apologise for saying London’s first Muslim mayor was underneath the management of Islamists and he had given the British capital “away to his mates”.
Anderson’s defection to Reform, which has Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage as its honorary president and backs populist causes corresponding to more durable immigration legal guidelines, offers the get together its first member of parliament.
Anderson give up his submit as certainly one of Conservative Celebration’s deputy chairmen in January to vote for amendments to toughen up immigration laws that will revive the federal government’s plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The 57-year-old helps the return of capital punishment, desires asylum seekers to be instantly returned to their nations of origin, and earned the nickname “30p Lee” after claiming that first rate meals could possibly be made for that quantity.
The row over Anderson’s feedback about London’s mayor comes at a delicate time in British politics because the Israel-Hamas warfare exacerbates tensions in Jewish and Muslim communities which have spilled into parliament.
Politicians are taking steps to guard themselves, corresponding to sporting stab vests in conferences or constructing secure rooms, as a result of they concern for his or her security.
Sunak has referred to as on all sides to “take the warmth” out of the problem however Anderson refused to apologise saying he had “not made one single racist remark,” and that the opposition was “fast to make use of the race card for political benefit”.


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