Lee Anderson loses Conservative whip after ‘refusal to apologise’ for Islamist claim

Lee Anderson has been stripped of the Conservative whip after claiming Sadiq Khan had “given our capital away” to Islamists.

His comments to GB News on Friday evening caused widespread controversy, with Khan, the London mayor, calling them “Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and racist”.

Khan told Sky News on Saturday morning: “These comments from a senior Conservative are Islamophobic, are anti-Muslim and are racist.”

In an appearance on GB News, Anderson said: “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.”

A series of Conservative ministers joined opposition MPs in criticising the remarks.

On Saturday afternoon, the chief whip, Simon Hart, made the decision to remove the whip from Anderson.

A spokesperson for Hart said: “Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the chief whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP.”

On Saturday morning, cabinet minister Grant Shapps appeared to distance himself from the comments by Anderson, but defended the controversial backbencher’s right to “speak [his] mind”.

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