Who is Ashfield MP Lee Anderson?

The controversial MP has been in the spotlight again this week after blaming food poverty on a lack of cooking skills.

By Lucy Roberts
Thursday, 12th May 2022, 10:55 am
The MP has been causing a stir in the national headlines again this week.

Mr Anderson has been branded ‘out of touch’ for saying people needed to learn how to cook and budget ‘properly’, rather than use food banks.

He made the comments in the Commons during a debate about the Queen’s Speech.

The MP hailed a ‘brilliant scheme’ in his constituency, where food bank users ‘have to register for a budgeting course and cooking course’.

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He claims people can make a meal for about 30p a day, cooking from scratch.

Who is he?

Lee Anderson was born in the Ashfield area, attending John Davies Primary School and Ashfield School.

He then studied shipping management at Nottingham Technical College, before becoming a coal miner.

Mr Anderson was a long-time Labour Party member and served as a councillor in the Huthwaite and Brierly ward of Ashfield, where he was elected in 2015.

A vocal Brexiteer, having supported the Vote Leave campaign, Mr Anderson subsequently defected to the Conservatives in 2018 and was later elected as a Tory councillor for the Oakham ward in Mansfield.

He became the MP for Ashfield following the 2019 general election, succeeding Gloria De Piero – who stood down.

What does an MP do?

The UK public elects Members of Parliament to represent their interests and concerns in the House of Commons. MPs consider and can propose new laws as well as raising issues that matter to people in the House.

This includes asking government ministers questions about current issues, including those which affect local constituents.

No stranger to controversy…

While serving as a Labour councillor on Ashfield Council in 2018, Mr Anderson was suspended by the party locally for dumping boulders to block access to a Traveller camp site.

He was later given a community protection notice over the action, and instructed to remove the boulders.

During the 2019 general election campaign, in the wake of a murder on the Carsic council estate in his constituency, Anderson said that certain "nuisance" council tenants were "making people's lives a complete misery".

He said: "Let's have the tenants in the field, picking potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o'clock, same again the next day." He was criticised by the Labour Party, who said the idea amounted to "forced labour camps".

In September 2020, Mr Anderson spoke out about other MPs labelling each other “fat old racists” if they supported Brexit.

Anderson was also caught setting up a staged door-knock encounter with a friend whilst being filmed by Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick.

Prior to the staged visit, Anderson told the man he arranged to meet to "make out you know who I am, that you know I'm the candidate but not that you are a friend".

Anderson justified his actions by stating that he "had been trying to make sure that somebody was in", before apologising several weeks later.

In June 2021, Anderson announced he would not be watching the England national football team at UEFA Euro 2020 games in response to the players taking the knee prior to matches.

He said: "The FA and the England football team have made a big mistake in supporting the taking of the knee before football matches ahead of the European Championships. The FA, Premier League and footballers now run the risk of becoming like the Labour Party and that is having nothing in common with their traditional supporters.”

Referring to the association of the taking the knee gesture with the group Black Lives Matter he said: "For the first time in my life I will not be watching my beloved England team whilst they are supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life."