Ashfield residents launch campaign film and Crowdfunder to unseat MP Lee Anderson

30p in every pound raised will go to the local food bank.

Lee Anderson

Constituents living in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, feel they deserve better than their current MP Lee Anderson and are trying to raise funds to build a fight to prevent his re-election.

They have had enough of his controversial style, such as saying he thinks people should be able to survive on 30p’s worth of food a day, while earning a £87k MP salary and a £100k side job on GB News.

The campaigners are part of MP Watch (MPW), a grassroots network of constituents teaming up to galvanise and support MPs so they can work together to tackle existential societal threats. The network currently has 20 campaigns in action, some live and working, and some in preparation for launch.

On Anderson’s rhetoric on immigration, the group says the MP ‘makes many voters shudder,’ and that it is a matter of public record that he has ‘pals in extreme far right-wing groups.’

Constituent Arran Rangi said that as a person of colour growing up in Ashfield, he knows his ‘constituency deserves better.’

“We deserve an MP that will fight for every constituent and can show humanity rather than hatred towards those fleeing for safety. An MP who understands the reality of the climate crisis and can bring the benefits of a green future to Ashfield,” said Rangi.

Campaign backer Jim Cowan also believes it’s time for Anderson to go. “His politics swings from dog-whistle hate speech to acting like a lap-dog for the privileged, neither of which are representative of what the majority, either locally or nationally, want or need. As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting racism, I find his divisive views, and the extremist company he keeps, at odds with anything resembling decency,” Cowan commented.

The MPW network is committed to removing MPs who block action on Net Zero.

Lee Anderson has generally voted against measures to prevent climate change. In February this year, he controversially said people are ‘sick to death’ of Net Zero, and people do not want to be ‘dictated to by the do-gooders.’

On his record on climate change, Jessica Townsend of MPW said: “We at MP Watch are interested in unseating Lee Anderson because he is a climate denier. We are non-politically partisan, but he has been part of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of climate sceptics and there is no room for them in the climate crisis.”

Lee Anderson was elected as MP for Ashfield in 2019 and was appointed as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in February this year. As well as climate change, the MP has made many a controversial remark about food bank usage. Earlier this year, he tweeted a picture of a member of his staff with details of her earnings and outgoings. He claimed she was an example of someone earning less than £30,000 but did not need to use a food bank.

The ‘Lee Anderson Watch’ faction of MP Watch are donating 30p to the local food bank for every £1 raised in the ‘Because Ashfield deserves better’ campaign.

The campaign film explores who ‘30p Lee’ is and looks at some of his most controversial moments. The campaign to unseat him has almost raised £500 of its £5000 target.

Jessica Townsend told LFF that the campaign has been much harder and slower than they had expected.

“Some people say they are intimidated. Although there is a private Facebook page with a thousand people that criticises Lee Anderson, people are reluctant to put their heads above the parapet. Some of those supporting us said they couldn’t go public as they were afraid there would be ramifications for them down the line.  But the core group are determined to go on.”

Anderson caused more controversy this week, by describing the ‘shocking’ moment his son told him he was a vegetarian. He made the ‘revelation’ on his GB News show ‘Real Talk,’ when he claimed there are groups at university who try to ‘influence and indoctrinate our young people.’

The comments sparked plenty of ridicule, and was described as one of the ‘most (accidental?) Partridge clips ever.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: YouTube screen grab

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