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'Leftie hysteria': Tories defend Lee Anderson over death penalty row

Pure snobbery! Top Tories defend new deputy chief Lee Anderson over death penalty row and hit out at ‘sneering attitude’ of critics

  • Lee Anderson MP said the death penalty had a ‘100 per cent success rate’
  • Tories have hit out at his critics, claiming ‘sneering snobbery’ and ‘leftie hysteria’ 

A backlash against the Tory deputy chairman after he called for the return of the death penalty was blasted as ‘sneering snobbery’ and ‘Leftie hysteria’ by MPs last night.

Lee Anderson MP, a former miner who defected from Labour in 2018, backed executions for some crimes saying it has a ‘100 per cent success rate’ in stopping re-offending.

Senior Labour and Scottish National Party figures lined up attack Mr Anderson, saying he was talking ‘nonsense’ and the Tories were ‘scraping the barrel’.

But Conservatives said he should be nicknamed ‘he stands for me Lee’ because he represents the views of millions.

Lee Anderson MP, a former miner who defected from Labour in 2018, backed executions for some crimes saying it has a ‘100 per cent success rate’ in stopping re-offending

One expert said ‘we need more people like Lee Anderson’ because so many MPs are university-educated career politicians.

Yesterday Rishi Sunak ruled out the return of the death penalty: ‘That’s not my view, that’s not the Government’s view.’ 

The PM’s spokesman added that Mr Anderson does not speak for the Government because he is not a minister, adding that the deputy chairman was ‘very hardworking’ and ‘an excellent campaigner who is very popular’.

In the interview, published in the Spectator yesterday, Mr Anderson said migrants crossing the Channel in small boats should be returned to France ‘the same day’ on a Royal Navy frigate. He also said the Tories were soft on welfare.

Most controversially, he backed executions for the most serious crimes, citing the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013. 

He said: ‘Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed – 100 per cent success rate.’

The interview drew an immediate reaction on Twitter. Labour health spokesman Wes Streeting said ‘good grief’, while Labour MP Zarah Sultana said: ‘That sound you can hear? It’s the Conservatives scraping the barrel.’  

But they were accused of looking down on working class values. 

Former minister Brendan Clarke-Smith MP said: ‘This is snobbery. You get the sneering attitude from SNP and Labour, and I just don’t think a lot of them have got the life experience to be able to do that.

‘Lee’s lived as a single parent on low income, he’s been a miner, he’s worked in Citizens’ Advice. He understands the challenges people face.’

Scott Benton, the MP for Blackpool South, a red wall seat that turned Tory at the last election, dismissed the response as ‘the usual Leftie hysteria’ while Mr Anderson’s co-deputy chairman Nickie Aiken MP added: ‘There is certainly a snobbish “we know better” attitude from the North London Labour party front bench.’

Political scientists said research showed that nine in ten MPs ‘belong to the university class’, while many have never worked outside politics.

Matt Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, said: ‘Irrespective of his views, we need more people like Lee Anderson in politics. 

We talk a lot about gender diversity, and ethnicity, but we don’t talk about values and education. A lot of voters don’t feel they have much of a voice in politics.’

Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, told MPs that Mr Anderson should be known as ‘he stands up for me Lee’.

Polling last month by YouGov showed around half the public supported the death penalty for child, terrorist and serial killers.

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