UK

Police ‘assessing’ hate speech report against MP Lee Anderson

A complaint was made after he accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of being controlled by Islamists.

Lee Anderson
Lee Anderson Lee Anderson (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Metropolitan Police are “assessing” a report of hate speech made against MP Lee Anderson after he accused the mayor of London of being controlled by Islamists.

Scotland Yard said a report was received a day after the former Tory deputy chairman made the remarks that unleashed an Islamophobia row.

The Ashfield MP was stripped of the Conservative whip over the weekend after he claimed that “Islamists” had “got control” of Sadiq Khan and that the first Muslim London mayor had “given away our capital” to such extremists.

The Met does not provide information on named individuals.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called Lee Anderson’s comments about the London mayor ‘wrong’
Rishi Sunak Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called Lee Anderson’s comments about the London mayor ‘wrong’ (Jacob King/PA)

However, after a report in the Sun newspaper, the force said on Wednesday: “A report was made to police on Saturday, 24 February. Officers are assessing this report.”

The assessment could result in a full investigation or a dismissal because of  a lack of sufficient evidence.

Mr Anderson’s comments sparked outrage across the political spectrum.

But the MP, who is now sitting in the House of Commons as an independent, has continued to refuse to apologise and said Rishi Sunak made a “mistake” in suspending him.

He has not ruled out standing for Reform UK, formerly known as the Brexit Party, at the next election.

GB News, the right-wing broadcaster that pays Mr Anderson a £100,000 salary, on top of his £86,584 MP pay, to present a show on its network, reported that he met Reform leader Richard Tice on Sunday, only 24 hours after being deprived of his Tory affiliation in the Commons.

Senior Conservatives have described Mr Anderson’s attack on Mr Khan as “wrong” but have so far stopped short of describing them as “Islamophobic”.

The Labour London mayor has urged the Prime Minister to call the remarks racist and Islamophobic.

Critics said Mr Sunak’s reluctance to describe the comments as Islamophobic was “weak”.