Sunak urged to deselect Liz Truss as Conservative election candidate

Rishi Sunak has been called on to deselect his predecessor as prime minister, Liz Truss, over her reported appearance on the podcast and media platform Lotus Eaters. 

Labour MP Jess Phillips has written to the PM, describing Lotus Eaters as “far right” and citing the abuse she received from one of its presenters, Carl Benjamin.

In 2016, Benjamin hit out at Phillips after she discussed rape and death threats sent to women on the internet. “I wouldn’t even rape you”, he wrote on the social media platform then known as Twitter. 

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Benjamin later doubled down on the comments after being selected as a UKIP candidate for the 2019 European parliament elections, defending the “joke” and refusing to “apologise for my crimes against political correctness”.

In a video posted on YouTube at the time, Benjamin said: “There’s been an awful lot of talk about whether I would or wouldn’t rape Jess Phillips. I’ve been in a lot of trouble for my hardline stance of not even raping her.

“I suppose with enough pressure I might cave. But let’s be honest nobody’s got that much beer.”

Former PM Liz Truss has been billed as appearing on an episode of Lotus Eaters show Tomlinson Talks later today.

In March, one of Lotus Eater’s contributors Benjamin Dade was dropped from running as a Reform UK candidate after campaign group HOPE not hate revealed he published a “policy roadmap” for The Mallard website. 

The roadmap called for “millions of foreigners and their dependents” to be expelled from the country and for Britain to “rid itself of the foreign plague we have been diseased with.”

Launched in 2020, the Lotus Eaters media platform claims its purpose is to “discover what is poisoning our societies and what the solution to these problems might be”.

“Whatever is causing the rot eating into the heart of the modern world must be identifiable and able to be countered”, the platform’s about us page adds.

Writing to the prime minister on Wednesday morning, Phillips raised concerns that Truss is set be interviewed on Lotus Eaters, which she described as “hateful” and “far right”.

Phillips, the former shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said that Benjamin “has despicable views about violence against women” and that the impact men like him have on politics “cannot be understated”.

Calling for Liz Truss’ deselection as a Conservative election candidate, Phillips added: “You [Rishi Sunak] have a responsibility as leader of your Party to uphold high standards among your MPs and candidates, and you have a responsibility as Prime Minister to foster a safe environment for MPs particularly female MPs who face ever-increasing rates of abuse and threat”.

She continued: “It is clear that anyone willing to appear on this hateful platform is not suitable to be a candidate for any political party. Even Reform UK deselected one of its candidates after his harmful views and work as a content creator for Lotus Eaters was exposed.

“If you have any decency, you will deselect Liz Truss as Conservative candidate for South West Norfolk. Anything less than this will show how weak you are and how far the Conservative Party has sunk”. 

In a written statement published on social media, Carl Benjamin responded to Phillips’ letter by accusing the Labour MP of “misrepresenting” him.

He said: “To call Lotuseaters a ‘hateful’ platform is to have had no engagement with it; a core part of our mission is to nurture ‘men with chests’, that is, an audience who loves and appreciates their own country, it’s history, it’s culture, and its customs, and understands how our countries merit this love.” is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage. Subscribe to our daily newsletter for all the latest election news and analysis.