Labour call for suspension of Tory MP Lee Anderson after 'dangerous' Sadiq Khan comments

Claims from Conservative MP Lee Anderson that Sadiq Khan have been immediately condemned as 'outright racism' and 'Islamophobia', Carl Dinnen reports

Former Conservative deputy chair Lee Anderson has been criticised for claiming Sadiq Khan, the first Muslim mayor of London, is controlled by "Islamists".

Speaking on GB News, Mr Anderson said Mr Khan had "given our capital city away to his mates".

"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," Mr Anderson said.

The Tory MP for Ashfield's comments drew criticism from politicians, including shadow health secretary Wes Streeting who said Mr Anderson's comments were "divisive and dangerous".

Mr Anderson's comments come after the speaker of the House of Commons said his decision to defy parliamentary convention by picking a Labour amendment to the SNP's Gaza ceasefire motion was motivated by concerns for MPs safety.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle faced calls to resign over the chaotic scenes in Parliament on Wednesday night, when he said he wanted to offer MPs the chance to vote on all party's amendments, because of threats to MPs security over their stance on a ceasefire.

Mr Streeting said on X: "The Conservatives have gone beyond the dogwhistle playbook of previous mayoral elections to outright racism and Islamophobia. Enough is enough. Is this really what your Party stands for @RishiSunak @RicHolden?"

The shadow health secretary added: "Sadiq has been a mayor for all Londoners. Disagree with him? Fine. Want to beat him at the ballot box? That's democracy. But the demonisation and othering of a Mayor who has unprecedented police protection because of threats is not only disgusting, it's dangerous. Enough."

Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP for Leicester South, called Mr Anderson's remarks "vile", adding he had written to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak "demanding he withdraws the whip".

Labour MPs, including Anneliese Dodds and Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, have also called for Mr Anderson to be stripped of the Tory whip.

Tan Dhesi, the shadow exports minister, said: "Given the recent spike in Islamophobia and antisemitism, and the febrile atmosphere in our country, it's deplorable that an elected MP can openly make such incendiary and divisive statements; especially against Sadiq Khan, who has done so much to foster community cohesion and tackle hate crime."

Former chancellor and Conservative MP Sajid Javid wrote on X that Mr Anderson's comments were a "ridiculous thing to say".

Nick Lowles CEO of the advocacy group HOPE not hate said Mr Anderson's comments were "clearly Islamophobic, racist and extreme", adding: "Not only are they a lie but they are stoking the flames of the far-right and could put the Mayor of London in serious danger."

Mr Anderson was deputy chairman of the Conservative party until January, when he resigned over the vote on the government’s Rwanda deportation policy.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know