Rishi Sunak squirms as Lee Anderson doubles down on Islamophobic rant | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Rishi Sunak was left squirming as he repeatedly refused to sentence as racist Lee Anderson’s broadly criticised rant about Sadiq Khan being managed by “Islamists”.

The prime minister has constantly declined to say whether or not the Tory former deputy chair’s remarks have been Islamophobic or anti-Muslim, saying he was suspended solely as a result of they have been “wrong”.

And, as Mr Anderson doubled down on the controversial rant, the prime minister additionally left the door open for his return to the Tory benches.

Sir Keir Starmer ramped up the strain on the PM, accusing him of “lacking the backbone” to name out Mr Anderson’s “Islamophobia”.

The Labour chief mentioned Mr Sunak is “too weak” to sentence the previous Tory deputy chairman’s anti-Muslim rant as racist.

And as Mr Anderson mentioned it will be “a sign of weakness” to apologise, Mr Sunak continued together with his refusal to explain the feedback as Islamophobic.

Rishi Sunak made Lee Anderson deputy chair of the Conservative Party


Appearing on GB News final week, Mr Anderson mentioned Muslim mayor Mr Khan is managed by “Islamists”.

He was suspended as a Tory MP after refusing to apologise for the comment, however the prime minister has refused to explain it as racist and ministers haven’t dominated out restoring the whip to Mr Anderson.

As the fallout from Mr Anderson’s remarks grew:

  • A Tory minister mentioned the whip was faraway from Mr Anderson “because anti-Muslim hatred is wrong”
  • A Labour former minister mentioned Mr Anderson’s feedback led to a torrent of far-right abuse, forcing her to hunt further police assist
  • Mr Anderson mentioned the “vast majority” of Muslims within the UK are “decent”, however refused to apologise for his feedback
  • Reform UK appeared to increase an invitation for Mr Anderson to affix the rebel right-wing occasion

Sir Keir mentioned Mr Sunak “lacks the backbone to call out “Islamophobia” after the remarks.

The Labour chief mentioned: “I think this is straightforward. It’s Islamophobia and the prime minister should call it out for what it is. The reason he won’t is because he is so weak.”

He added: “I don’t think anyone can make any excuses for this prime minister and say it’s all too difficult.

“It’s very straightforward, he lacks the backbone to call this out for what it is because he’s leading a divided party, a chaotic party and it’s no wonder people have just had enough of this after 14 years, and desperately want change.”

Keir Starmer mentioned Rishi Sunak is ‘too weak’ to name out Lee Anderson’s Islamophobia


Asked about Mr Anderson’s feedback throughout a go to to East Yorkshire, Mr Sunak mentioned: “I’ve been very clear that what he said was wrong, it was unacceptable, and that’s why we suspended the whip.”

But, pressed on whether or not he thought of Mr Anderson’s remarks Islamophobic, the PM merely mentioned: “I think the most important thing is that the words were wrong, they were ill-judged, they were unacceptable.”

Earlier the PM denied the Conservative occasion has “Islamophobic tendencies”.

It got here as Mr Anderson sought to row again on his feedback, however stopped wanting providing an apology over the rant.

He mentioned: “If you are wrong, apologising is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

“But when you think you are right, you should never apologise because to do so would be a sign of weakness.”

He mentioned he had made feedback “that some people thought were divisive.

“Politics is divisive and I am just incredibly frustrated about the abject failures of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.”

He additionally mentioned: “My words may have been clumsy but my words were borne out of sheer frustration at what is happening to our beautiful capital city.”

Lee Anderson mentioned his phrases ‘may have been clumsy’ after claiming Sadiq Khan is managed by Islamists


The row erupted final Friday when, discussing pro-Palestinian protests in London, Mr Anderson mentioned: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

In a slight climbdown from his preliminary outburst, Mr Anderson mentioned: “The vast majority of our Muslim friends in the UK are decent, hardworking citizens who make an amazing contribution to our society and their religion should not be blamed for the actions of a tiny minority of extremists.”

After calling for the Conservatives to deal with the “moral rot” of anti-Muslim hatred within the occasion, Mr Khan mentioned it was “remarkable” the PM had didn’t name out “Islamophobia” straight. The mayor pointed to an announcement issued by Mr Sunak which known as out rising incidents of “prejudice and antisemitism”, however uncared for to say anti-Muslim hatred particularly, regardless of a surge since 7 October final yr.

“This speaks volumes,” Mr Khan mentioned.

Writing within the Evening StandardMr Khan added: “It shouldn’t be hard to call out comments that are so unambiguously ignorant, prejudiced and racist. Yet those at the top of the Conservative Government are stubbornly refusing to do so.

“It’s a tacit endorsement of anti-Muslim hatred and can only lead to the conclusion that anti-Muslim bigotry and racism are not taken seriously.”

Senior Tory Tom Tugendhat got here the closest to describing Mr Anderson’s feedback as “anti-Muslim” and suggesting that’s the reason he was suspended from the occasion. The house workplace minister mentioned: “The whip was removed immediately because anti-Muslim hatred is wrong.”

Meanwhile, a Labour former minister informed MPs she needed to search further police assist over the weekend as a consequence of receiving far-right abuse following “racist, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim hate” she mentioned had been partly inspired by Mr Anderson.

Speaking within the Commons, Dawn Butler mentioned: “I have had to seek extra police support this weekend due to the far-right abuse that I have suffered inspired and unleashed in part by the conspiracy theory, the racist, Islamophobic, anti-Muslim hate.”

It got here as Reform UK appeared to increase an invitation for Mr Anderson to affix the occasion after his suspension from the Conservatives.

The former Brexit Party, arrange by Nigel Farage, mentioned Mr Anderson speaks “for millions who are appalled by what is happening to our country”.

Richard Tice, who took over from Mr Farage as Reform’s chief, mentioned: “Lee Anderson may have been clumsy in his precise choice of words, but his sentiments are supported by millions of British citizens, including myself.”

It is broadly thought Mr Anderson will think about becoming a member of Reform to contest his Ashfield seat on the common election. Mr Farage on Saturday known as for Mr Anderson to affix the occasion and tackle the Tories.

And on Monday, Mr Tice added: “Never has Westminster and the craven left-leaning establishment been so out of touch with ordinary people.

“I do not and will not give a running commentary on any discussions I have with any MPs, but those MPs have my number.”