Lee Anderson is not good enough for Reform UK, suggests deputy leader Ben Habib

The Reform Party deputy leader, Ben Habib, has suggested that Lee Anderson might not be of sufficient calibre to represent his party. 

Habib, who stood for Reform in the Wellingborough by-election, told Times Radio he had doubts regarding Anderson’s ability as a political communicator.

Anderson was relieved of the Conservative Party whip on Saturday afternoon after his comments claiming Islamists had “got control” of Sadiq Khan caused widespread controversy. 

Speaking to GB News on Friday evening, Anderson said the London Mayor had “given our capital away” to Islamists. 

“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”, he said. 

The comments sparked significant backlash, with Khan calling them “Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and racist”.

The remarks have now prompted a broader Islamophobia row within the Conservatives. On Monday, Sayeeda Warsi, the Conservative peer who served as the party’s co-chair under David Cameron, said the prime minister needs to “find the language” to “call Islamophobia Islamophobia”.

Former Conservative Party chair urges Rishi Sunak to ‘call out’ Islamophobia

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Rehman Chishti told Sky News on Monday evening that Rishi Sunak has “made the calculation” that he doesn’t need Muslim voters for his “political purposes”.

Anderson has since double -down on his initial remarks and refused to apologise, prompting speculation the former Conservative Party deputy chair could defect to Reform UK, the restyled Brexit Party. 

In a statement released yesterday, Reform leader Richard Tice said “Lee speaks for millions of people who are appalled by what is happening to our country”, opening the door for the former Conservative MP. 

However, Reform’s deputy leader Ben Habib has now cast doubt on the prospect, saying he would be “circumspect” about Lee Anderson joining his party. 

He told Times Radio: “I would be quite circumspect about anyone who can’t express themselves accurately, clearly and in matters of great sensitivity without actually being able to identify properly what the issue is. 

“I need to understand what he means by Islamist. I need to understand what’s in his mind. Does he think there’s a group of extreme Muslims controlling Sadiq, or does he think Sadiq is a prejudiced individual who’s perpetrating, you know, divisive politics? And I’d say Sadiq Khan is probably the latter, not the former.”

He added: “Lee clearly hasn’t got a grasp, in my view, of the language required to identify and address the problem”.

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

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