UK

Labour demands Truss and Anderson lose whip as pair rebuked by senior Tory

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday, shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth condemned remarks made by the pair as ‘egregious’.

Labour has called for Liz Truss to lose the Tory whip
Popular Conservatism movement launch Labour has called for Liz Truss to lose the Tory whip (Victoria Jones/PA)

Labour has called for Liz Truss and Lee Anderson to lose the Conservative whip over media appearances that also caused anger within Tory ranks.

In a letter to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday, shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said “egregious” remarks made by the pair “cannot go unchecked or unchallenged”.

Ms Truss had used a talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Cpac) in the US to claim her efforts to cut taxes were “sabotaged” by the “administrative state and the deep state”.

The former prime minister, whose disastrous mini-budget in 2022 unleashed economic chaos, later took part in an interview with Steve Bannon and remained silent as he hailed far-right figure Tommy Robinson a “hero.”

Senior Tory MP Sir Sajid Javid was among those to criticise her for not challenging the comment, writing in a post on X: “I’d hope every MP would confront such a statement head on. Liz should really know better.”

Sir Sajid also hit out at Mr Anderson after the former deputy Conservative chairman appeared to suggest in an appearance on GB News that London Mayor Sadiq Khan had “given our capital away” to “Islamists”.

The former chancellor branded the remarks “ridiculous” while Labour said it was “appalling racism and Islamophobia”.

Tory peer Gavin Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff in Number 10, described the comment as a “despicable slur”.

The PM is being pressed by Sir Keir Starmer’s party to “show some leadership” and take action over the remarks.

A failure to do so would amount to “allowing the divisive, deluded and dangerous views of the far-right into mainstream British politics and continue to give credibility to such a degradation of British institutions and cultural life on the international stage”, Mr Ashworth said.

Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth branded comments made by Liz Truss and Lee Anderson ‘egregious’
Labour Party Conference 2021 Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth branded comments made by Liz Truss and Lee Anderson ‘egregious’ (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Ms Truss had claimed in her speech that Conservatives are “now operating in what is a hostile environment” and that “left-wing elites” will be “aided and abetted by our enemies in China, Iran and Russia”.

Interviewed by Mr Bannon after her speech, she also said she was willing to work with Nigel Farage to change the Conservative Party.

And she suggested the former Donald Trump adviser, who is facing fraud charges in New York, could “come over to Britain and sort out Britain”.

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Mr Ashworth wrote: “For a senior politician to engage in spreading such blatant conspiracy theories is incredibly damaging to our democracy, our institutions and social cohesion.”

He added: “For a former prime minister to make such remarks, while on an international visit to a country with whom the UK shares a special relationship which upholds liberal values is an unforgivable lowering of the office of prime minister which lessens the United Kingdom’s standing in the world and needs to be acted upon.

“It’s time to show some leadership and take on the extremists in your party. Liz Truss and Lee Anderson must no longer sit as Conservative MPs. Their words cannot go unchecked or unchallenged.”

Downing Street has been contacted for comment.

Ms Truss resigned in October 2022 after the fallout from her botched financial statement, becoming the country’s shortest-serving prime minister after just 49 days in office.

Her speech at Cpac sees her sharing a stage with Mr Trump, whose presidential bid she all but directly endorsed, and Reform UK founder and former Ukip leader Mr Farage.