‘We both need to be back in Westminster’: Conservative MP endorses Reform’s Lee Anderson

A Conservative MP has appeared to endorse Lee Anderson of Reform UK, labelling the former Tory as Ashfield’s “greatest champion”.

Nick Fletcher, an MP widely considered to be on the right of the Conservative Party, said in a post on X/Twitter this morning that both he and Anderson “need to be back in Westminster”.

It came after Anderson, who defected to Reform last month, announced he would not campaign in four constituencies currently held by Conservative MPs. 

Fletcher is one of those MPs — alongside Ben Bradley, Brendan Clarke-Smith and Marco Longhi. 

***Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.***

In a statement this morning, Anderson said: “Meet Ben Bradley MP, Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP, Marco Longhi MP [and] Nick Fletcher MP. 

“These people are my friends and the ones that reached out to me last month. They will always be my friends and because of this I will not campaign against them in their Parliamentary seats. Friendship means more to me”.

“Every other seat is fair game”, he added. 

In an apparent response to Anderson’s remarks, Fletcher posted on X: “I so wish Lee Anderson had remained with the Conservatives. However having lost the whip it would mean the Conservative Party would choose someone other than Lee to fight the election in Ashfield. 

“I can understand in those circumstances why he joined Reform. Ashfield has its greatest champion and I hope they appreciate what he has done for his home town and his country at the next election. 

“I hope my constituents see that a vote for me in Doncaster is also the right thing to do. I am a lone voice in Parliament shouting up for Doncaster. 

“We both need to be back in Westminster along with [Bradley, Clarke-Smith and Longhi]”

Lee Anderson was suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party in February over his refusal to apologise for his claims that Islamists had “got control” of Sadiq Khan and of London.

Speaking to GB News in February, 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”.

Anderson was unveiled as Reform’s first MP in March. 

Speaking to a press conference on 11 March, Reform leader Richard Tice said: “In the Red Wall this election we want to replace the Tories as the main alternative to ‘Starmergeddon’, that’s what it is, a nightmare, coming to everyone near you in 2024”.

Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.

Politics@Lunch: Will more Conservative MPs follow Lee Anderson to Reform UK?