‘Muslims are fair game when it comes to racism’: Sadiq Khan slams PM for failing to condemn Lee Anderson comments | Politics News

Sadiq Khan has accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn a senior Tory MP’s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.

Mr Khan said remarks by Lee Anderson that “Islamists” had “got control” of him as London mayor were Islamophobic and sent the message that Muslims were “fair game” when it came to racism.

The comments by Conservative former deputy chairman have prompted criticism from Labour and some Tories, including former cabinet minister Sajid Javid who branded them “ridiculous”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield react during a visit to Woodland View Primary School in Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, Britain January 4, 2024. Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
Lee Anderson pictured with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

But while cabinet minister Grant Shapps distanced himself from Mr Anderson’s claim he appeared to defend his right to “speak [his] mind”.

Speaking on GB News this week, Mr Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said: “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of Khan and they’ve got control of London… He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

His remarks come amid heightened community tensions in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, concerns over the conduct of pro-Palestinian protests and fears of violence against MPs.

The London mayoral election is being held this May.

Mr Khan said: “These comments from a senior Conservative are Islamophobic, are anti-Muslim and are racist.”

Highlighting the spike in hate crimes, he said: “These comments pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred.

“I am afraid the deafening silence form Rishi Sunak and from the cabinet is them condoning this racism.

“I am afraid it confirms to many people across the country that there’s a hierarchy when it comes to racism.”

He added: “I am unclear why Rishi Sunak, why members of his cabinet aren’t calling this out and aren’t condemning this.

“It’s like they are complicit in this sort of racism.

“The message it sends is Muslims are fair game when it comes to racism and anti-Muslim hatred.

“It’s not good enough in 2024 in the United Kingdom.”

Business minister Nus Ghani described her Tory colleague’s comments as “foolish and dangerous”.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the Wealden MP said: “I have spoken to Lee Anderson. I’ve called out Islamic extremism (& been attacked by hard left, far right & Islamists).

“I don’t for one moment believe that Sadiq Khan is controlled by Islamists. To say so, is both foolish and dangerous. Frankly this is all so tiring…”

Conservative former minister Sir Robert Buckland said: “Conservatives succeed by seeking to bring our country together, not by stoking division.”

Tory peer Gavin Barwell, who was Theresa May’s Number 10 chief of staff, said the remarks were a “despicable slur”.

The Labour Party has written to Mr Sunak calling for the whip to be removed from Mr Anderson, which would mean he would sit as an independent MP rather than a Conservative.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said Mr Anderson had engaged in “outright racism and Islamophobia”.

Sky News have approached Mr Anderson for comment.

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