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Tories suspend whip from MP over ‘Islamophobic’ comments

The UK’s Conservative Party have suspended their former deputy chairman from the parliamentary party, after he refused to apologise for saying London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan was controlled by Islamists.

Pressure had been growing on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tories to act following Lee Anderson’s remarks yesterday, which have been widely condemned as racist and Islamophobic.

It comes as incidents of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism have spiked dramatically across the UK amid increased polarisation since the outbreak of the war in Gaza last October.

“Following his refusal to apologise for comments made yesterday, the chief whip has suspended the Conservative whip from Lee Anderson MP,” a spokesperson for Tory politician Simon Hart has said.

Mr Hart’s chief whip position makes him responsible for internal Conservative Party discipline.

On the right-wing GB News channel yesterday, Mr Anderson claimed Islamists had “got control” of Mr Khan, who was the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital when first elected in London in 2016.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Mr Anderson’s comments were ‘racist’ and ‘anti-Muslim’

“He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates,” added Mr Anderson, the Tory MP for a seat in northern England.

His remarks prompted a flood of criticism from across the political spectrum, with Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds calling them “unambiguously racist and Islamophobic”.

Conservative business minister Nus Ghani, senior backbencher Sajid Javid and Tory peer Gavin Barwell were among senior Tory figures to join the complaints, with Mr Barwell calling the comments a “despicable slur”.

The Muslim Council of Britain said they were “disgusting” and extremist.

Mr Khan, who labelled the comments “anti-Muslim” and “racist”, had earlier today complained about “deafening silence” from Mr Sunak and his senior ministers in response, arguing that amounted to condoning racism.

Within hours, Mr Hart’s office had issued its statement announcing Mr Anderson’s suspension. The MP was yet to comment on the decision.

Mr Anderson will now sit as an independent lawmaker in parliament.

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