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Labour criticises Anderson fundraiser appearance

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Labour criticises Anderson fundraiser appearance

Labour said it “beggars belief” that Lee Anderson reportedly attended a Conservative fundraiser with former prime minister Liz Truss, despite currently being suspended as a Tory MP.

A report in the Daily Express suggested Mr Anderson was at a dinner to raise money for Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith on Friday.

The former Tory deputy chairman is said to have been given a standing ovation by those in attendance, with Ms Truss, according to an anonymous onlooker cited by the newspaper, saying, “who is this de-whipped Tory?” as she greeted him.

The Express published a photo which it says shows Mr Anderson, Ms Truss and Mr Clarke-Smith posing together at the fundraiser.

Labour has urged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ban Mr Anderson from raising funds for the Tories while he is without the party whip.

Ashfield MP Mr Anderson was stripped of the Tory whip last weekend after he accused Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, of being controlled by Islamists.

Mr Anderson, an outspoken MP in the ‘Red Wall’ — Labour’s traditional heartlands across the Midlands and North of England where the Tories made gains during the 2019 election — has refused to apologise for the remarks despite Mr Sunak labelling them “wrong”.

The former Labour councillor has also refused to rule out potentially standing for Reform UK, the former Brexit Party, at the next election.

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow paymaster general, said: “It beggars belief that, far from being suspended from the Tories as Rishi Sunak told us, here he is: Lee Anderson, parading around the North Notts rubber chicken circuit with none other than Liz Truss.

“Given Rishi Sunak deems Mr Anderson as unfit to be a Tory MP, he now needs to bar him from fundraising for the Tory Party.

“Unless he takes action, Rishi Sunak will again be exposed as weaker than ever, and out of control of his chaotic, divided party.”

According to the Express, Friday’s event in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire, with Ms Truss was designed to raise money towards Mr Clarke-Smith’s re-election campaign ahead of a general election expected this year.

Ms Truss had been due to speak about her brief tenure in No 10 in 2022, including the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, before her mini-budget helped send the economy tumbling, leading to her being ousted after just 44 days in office.

Labour has previously called for Ms Truss to have the Tory whip removed after her attendance at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference in the US.

While at the event last month, she claimed her efforts to cut taxes were “sabotaged” by the “deep state”.

The former Tory leader later took part in an interview with Steve Bannon, who served as a senior White House aide to former Republican US president Donald Trump, and remained silent as he hailed British far-right figure Tommy Robinson a “hero”.

Mr Sunak on Friday, in an address to the nation from Downing Street, warned that extremist forces in Britain were “trying to tear us apart”.

He said Islamist extremists and far-right groups “are spreading a poison” in the UK as he called for unity and social cohesion.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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