Ashfield Conservative candidate being investigated over alleged antisemitism

The Conservative candidate standing to become Ashfield’s next MP is being investigated for alleged antisemitism.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 10:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 12:45 pm

Councillor Lee Anderson, who represents Oakham on Mansfield District Council, is one of three candidates being investigated by the Conservatives.

Coun Anderson is an active member of Ashfield Backs Boris, a Facebook group where conspiracies about Jewish billionaire George Soros have been promoted and which includes supporters of far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

The Guardian reports that members of the group, which is moderated by activists connected to Coun Anderson’s campaign, have written comments such as: “The entire exploiters of the anti-Brexit vote are now attempting to uproot the voters via pressure from Soros. What say you UK? Who is your master?”

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Councillor Lee Anderson, Tory candidate for Ashfield.

Another wrote: “It’s scary how much Soros runs/owns/manipulates.”

The Tory candidate has already caused controversy for staging a fake election door-knock with a friend, which was exposed by journalist Michael Crick, and for saying in a video that nuisance tenants should be sent to work camps.

He boasted about the video, on November 17, writing on the Facebook group that he would not house the tenants, whom he described as “idiots”, and it was “time to get tough”.

Coun Anderson is being investigated alongside Sally-Ann Hart, standing in the marginal Hastings seat, who allegedly shared anti-Soros videos, and Richard Short, St Helens South and Whiston’s candidate, who allegedly questioned the national loyalty of a Jewish journalist.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said all three cases were being investigated.

A statement said: “Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong, and the Conservative Party takes decisive action to deal with any incidents of hatred, abuse or intimidation. We are committed to stamping out the scourge of antisemitism in our society and supporting our Jewish community.

“Our complaints process is rightly a confidential one but there are a wide range of sanctions to challenge and change behaviour, including conditions to undertake training, periods of suspension and expulsion, and these are applied on a case-by-case basis.”

Coun Anderson is standing against Martin Daubney of the Brexit Party, Natalie Fleet from Labour, Becky Wain, of the Lib Dems, Rose Woods of the Greens and Councillor Jason Zadrozny, of the Ashfield Independents.

He has been approached for comment.