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Constituents of Lee Anderson, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party, are launching a campaign to build a “fighting fund” to prevent his re-election.
Anderson’s controversial style has been the subject of frequent press coverage, with reports of him “bullying” a local radio presenter who asked him about allegations of lying, publicising salaries of his staff, and challenging remain protestor Steve Bray to a boxing match.
The MP for Ashfield has come under scrutiny for his apparent friendship with members of far-right groups.
He is also facing a parliamentary investigation for using the roof of Parliament for promoting his GB News show, which has seen him – among other things – attempt to feed cat food to a guest.
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Constituent Jim Cowan, a backer of the new ‘Lee Anderson Watch’, said: “It’s time for Anderson to go. His politics swings from dog-whistle hate speech to acting like a lap-dog for the privileged, neither of which are representative of what the majority, either locally or nationally, want or need.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting racism, I find his divisive views, and the extremist company he keeps, at odds with anything resembling decency.”
The group’s campaigns may be largely “underground”, it says, and it is not giving away any plans as of yet.
Local resident Arran Rangi said: “We all hope our members of Parliament can represent our views and fight our corner. However, when your MP is Lee Anderson you are not given that opportunity.
“From blocking constituents on social media to ludicrous claims that 30p is enough for a nutritious meal, Lee Anderson has continually shown how he is unfit to represent the people of Ashfield in Parliament. His views on climate change and migration are not just abhorrent, they are dangerous.”
The MP is also criticised for blocking constituents who disagree with him from his social media. Many who have not been abusive claim to be blocked.
Another constituent said he “acts like a spoiled child having a tantrum, seems unable to debate in a civilised manner instead blocks anyone who disagrees with him”.
“He appears on national TV trying to feed his friends cat food,” they added. “Apparently, he is ‘putting Ashfield on the map’. I think he is making us a laughing stock.”
Jim Cowan said: “I feel I have been disenfranchised by an MP who ignores my emails (on serious issues) and then blocks me from his social media for asking why I have not received a reply. At the next election, we need to elect an MP who represents his constituents, and who replies to them and converses with them, regardless of views, thus offering representation in Westminster to all.”
Constituents fear that, despite scandals, Anderson will keep his role as MP because opposition parties are “in disarray”. The local Labour Party suffers from deep division between left-wing Corbynistas and the right of the party.
The new campaign group will be part of a national network called MP Watch (MPW), which is linked to the Climate Majority Project, and focuses on climate campaigning.
The network’s Jessica Townsend said: “Anderson is a ‘marmite’ politician. He does have some firm fans, but most seem dismayed by him. We are interested in unseating Lee Anderson because he is a climate-denier. We are non-politically partisan but he has been part of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of climate denialist politicians, and there is no room for them in the climate crisis.”
She noted that there are many constituents in the former mining area that have serious problems with fuel and food poverty: “Many pubs and local restaurants have closed down giving a very downbeat aspect to the area. Meanwhile, Anderson enjoys a £100,000 job with GB News and takes donations from the Carlton Club.”
Lee Anderson MP was contacted for comment.
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