In a leaked recording of a South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association event last month, obtained by The Times, Anderson told activists in attendance that “a political party that begins with an R” offered him money to join them.
“I say a lot of money, I mean a lot of money,” he added.
Anderson said: “All they want, Reform – and I spoke to the leaders of Reform – they want PR, which is proportional representation. They are hell-bent and want us to get hammered in the next election, because they firmly believe that Labour will bring in PR.
“At the election after that [the 2029 election] - in five to six years’ time, whenever it is – under PR, if Reform get five to six million votes, that gives them about 40 seats in parliament.”
He also expressed fears that Conservatives are “done for… for generations” as he is “convinced” Labour will introduce votes for 16-year-olds, and that “a vote for Reform is a vote for Labour”.
Formerly known as The Brexit Party, Reform UK certainly seem to be gearing up for next year’s election, as they’ve tweaked their name to remind voters of their origins by calling themselves “Reform UK: The Brexit party”.
Anyway, while Anderson’s comments have caused a bit of a stir, a Reform UK spokesperson’s remarks to The Times about the Tory MP’s claims are just as wild, branding him a “plank”.
Denying the party had the funds to “do anything dodgy – not that it would do anything”, the individual added: “We might be able to buy him a pint but that’s about it. This is all about damaging Reform UK at a time where we are surging in the polls.
“The Tories are terrified because they can see Reform UK is likely to take more votes from them than Labour and they are facing a potential wipeout.”
The party’s leader, Richard Tice, has also insisted “no cash or money has in any way been offered” and that “desperate Tories will make desperate lies to save their skin”.
The whole situation has already sparked ridicule online:
Lee Anderson was offered 20p by Richard Tice to defect. \n\nLee refused saying that it is well known that his price is 30p and that it is non-negotiable. \n\nHe has provided photographic evidence to back up this claim.
@thetimes Now, if he'd said they'd offered him a Greggs gift card and a four pack of Special Brew, I'd find this story far more believable.
The real banter scenario would be if he defected back to Labour.
I don\u2019t want to hear anyone saying that Lee Anderson was asked to \u201csell his soul\u201d for \u00a3400,000 to join Reform.\n\nHe hasn\u2019t got one.