16 of Lee Anderson's biggest controversies and most outlandish quotes

16 of Lee Anderson's biggest controversies and most outlandish quotes
Lee Anderson refuses to apologise for controversial comments about asylum seekers

Lee Anderson is in trouble once again for comments he made about asylum seekers.

The deputy Tory chairman suggested those unhappy with how Britain treats migrants should "f*** off back to France", and in doing so caused a huge stir.

But it is by far not the first time Anderson has ruffled feathers with his views.

From making dodgy comments to engaging with protestors in a less than politically correct way, Anderson has done things that would make most deputy chair people of major political parties blush.

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Here are Anderson's biggest gaffes:

1. '30p Lee'

Anderson is known by some as "30p Lee" because of making some strange comments about food banks.

Speaking in parliament in May this year Anderson said that “generation after generation” of people “cannot budget” or make meals properly.

Anderson also said in the Commons that meals could be cooked from scratch "for about 30 pence a day" as he invited "everybody" on the opposition benches to visit a food bank in Ashfield.

He said: "I've got a big bee in my bonnet about food poverty. I'm a big believer that we do need food banks, but not to the degree we've got them.

"Every do-gooder is starting these little projects to make themselves feel good."

He said he had worked with a local chef in his Ashfield constituency to make 172 meals after spending £50 in a supermarket.

"'30p Lee' they named me," he said. "That stuck but in a good sort of way, it got people talking about food poverty.

Having told everyone his new nickname, it stuck even more.

2. Nurses and food banks

And despite facing backlash for these comments, Anderson came after nurses next to make his budgeting points. “Anybody earning 30-odd grand a year – which most nurses are – using food banks, then they’ve got something wrong with their own finances,” Anderson told Times Radio in December.

He, in response, faced a whole load of backlash. But he didn't stop there.

3. Using his staff to make vague political points

Doubling down on his weird stance on the cost of living crisis, Anderson decided to one day take a photo of a young woman working in his constituency office and made an example of her exemplary budgeting.

Anderson wrote: "She [Katy] is single & earns less than 30k, rents a room for £775pcm in Central London, has student debt, £120 a month on travelling to work saves money every month, goes on foreign holidays & does not need to use a foodbank. Katy makes my point really well."

The tweet didn't make his point really well and Anderson ended up being reported to the Commons authorities.

4. His campaigning gaffe

Anderson has always been a bit of a loose cannon. In 2019, journalist Michael Crick caught him getting one of his friends to pose as an anti-Labour swing voter. Anderson forgot he was wearing a live mic while he phoned his friend to set up the meeting.

“Make out you know who I am... you know I’m the candidate, but not a friend, alright?” Anderson was recorded saying as he spelled out instructions to his friend just before bringing the journalist to his door.

5. "Nuisance tenants"

And also during his election campaign in 2019, Anderson filmed himself vouching for a peculiar policy. He declared that “nuisance tenants” should be forced to live in tents and pick potatoes.

6. Taking the knee

As well as taking odd stances on the cost of living, he's also got annoyed about culture war issues. In 2021, when the men’s Euro 2020 football tournament was taking place, Anderson vowed to boycott England matches in protest at the players’ anti-racism stance of taking the knee before matches.

It made him look very grumpy indeed when the team got to the final.

7. Confusing Liz Truss for Theresa May

And he's made a number of gaffes. During the Tory party’s conference, he blamed a “long few days” for confusing then-prime minister Liz Truss leader with Theresa May.

8. Calling Partygate a "witch hunt" against Boris Johnson

And used language dramatically. In a BBC News interview, Anderson said: “What people see is a witch hunt, led by the BBC and the Labour Party. The BBC has had it in for Boris since day one.”

Anderson continued: “My inbox is full of people complaining about the BBC all the time, saying it should be defunded. There’s a massive witch hunt by you, and the Labour Party, and the mainstream media."

9. Claiming the economy is fine because people still go to Wetherspoons

You may have thought we were done but another great cost of living take from Anderson dropped when he talked about the pub. “Go in any Wetherspoons, that’s the barometer of how this country is doing, when Wetherspoons is empty we’ve got a big problem,” he said in Birmingham.

10. Clashing with Steve Bray all the time

Anderson is also famous for always getting into trouble with notorious protestor Steve Bray. He's done everything from stealing his hat, calling him a "parasite" and a "scrounger" and challenging him to a boxing match.

The latest on it is that Anderson has confirmed he will face off against Bray in the boxing ring with reports claiming GB News is in talks to host it. If Bray wins, Anderson has to step down.

If Anderson wins, Bray will have to stop protesting.

11. Supporting the death penalty

In an interview with the Spectator magazine, days before Anderson was appointed party chairman, he said he would support the return of the death penalty because “nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed”.


12. Making "transphobic" comments

Anderson got into trouble when he told Talk TV he "would not follow Eddie Izzard into the toilets" if she came to parliament, and even said Keir Starmer "is not sure what he’s all about".

It came amid reports Izzard was considering running for parliament.

13. Calling on everyone to eat wheat biscuits

Yep. We bring you another cost of living take. If a picture tells a thousand words and a tweet tells 10,000 sometimes so we have nothing more to add to this odd take:

14. Mocking a random person on Twitter

When someone criticised Anderson when he tweeted about Labour, rather than ignore it, the MP mocked him off for his Twitter following.

He clapped back by tweeting: “You have one Twitter follower in five years. Hardly an influencer are you when even your friends refuse to follow you – assuming you have friends.”

Naturally, the user's Twitter followers immediately increased and now he has 51,700.

15. Calling a BBC presenter a liar

Anderson called a BBC radio presenter a liar after she suggested his election campaign video mentioned previously was a bit "dishonest".

Anderson turned the question back on her and asked her if she had ever "told a lie" in the past and the conversation deteriorated from there.

16. "F*** off back to France"

Anderson's latest scandal is telling migrants who don't want to be housed in barges to "f*** off back to France".

He refused to apologise for the remarks, which he made to the Express after it emerged about 20 asylum seekers were granted a last-minute reprieve from boarding the Bibby Stockholm accommodation vessel on Monday.

The government hopes the use of the Bibby Stockholm barge and former military bases to house asylum seekers will reduce the cost of hotel bills.

Anderson told the publication: "I think people have just had enough.

"These people come across the Channel in small boats... if they don't like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France, or better not come at all in the first place."

Unbelievably, Downing Street appeared to have his back.

When asked if this view represented the government, Number 10 pointed to comments made by Justice Secretary Alex Chalk, who said the "indignation" of Anderson was well placed.

"The justice secretary was speaking on behalf of the government. That is the response," the spokesperson told Sky News.

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