Tory deputy slams “pearl clutching” union leaders and asks why “slippery” Sir Keir Starmer cannot say what a woman is

Leon Images Tory MP Lee Anderson and Deputy chairman talks to political reporter Kate Ferguson about May local elections

LEE Anderson has slammed the “namby-pamby pearl-clutching” leaders of the junior doctors strike.

Millions of patients have had operations and appointments cancelled and care harmed in the biggest walkout the NHS has ever seen.

Tory MP Lee Anderson and Deputy chairman talks to political editor Kate Ferguson about May local elections

In a blistering attack, the Tory deputy chairman said the hard-left cabal of graduates in their 20s running the strike are treating their members like “useful idiots”.

Mr Anderson – an ex coal miner and former trade unionist – said they are a far cry from the experienced shop stewards he grew up with down the pit.

In an exclusive interview with HOAR on Sunday: “The trade union movement I grew up with was you did a proper job.

“You got your hands dirty.  You learned the ropes. You did your apprenticeship, or training. You worked on the shop floor…

“Then, in a few years’ time, God willing, you would be a union rep or shop steward or something like that, and do it the hard way.

“Now you see these wet, liberal namby-pamby, hand-wringing, pearl-clutching straight out of university types becoming union reps.

“It’s ridiculous. They have never done the job. How can you represent a group of workers when you don’t know what it’s like to do that profession?”

He added: “It is organisations like the Labour Party and trade unions taking advantage of useful idiots. It is a scandal.”

Mr Anderson made the hard-hitting remarks – the toughest yet by a senior Tory figure – in an exclusive interview with HOAR on Sunday.

In a wide-ranging chat while out on the local election campaign trail in his hometown of Ashfield, Notts, he also warned:

:: Britain is in the “middle of a culture war” and a battle for our history

:: Woke trans activism is leaving some scared to use the word “woman”

:: Migrants in Calais think Britain is El Dorado with streets paved with gold

:: Compared Sir Keir Starmer to a slippery “used car salesman”

:: Admitted Rishi Sunak lacks the “glitz and glamour” of Boris Johnson but said the PM is winning them over

:: Backed tax cuts ahead of the next general election

With a reputation for straight talking which has won him an army of fans – and enemies – Mr Anderson, 56,  is not your usual grey-suited Tory politician.

He spent ten years as a coal miner – like his father, grandfather and great grandfather before him – and was a card-carrying member of the National Union of Mineworkers.

Tory MP Lee Anderson and Deputy chairman talks to political editor Kate Ferguson about May local elections With council candidate Dawn Justice

Times were often tough. He raised his two sons mainly alone as a single parent, and once had to sell his car to raise some cash.

Like many working class lads, he became a Labour member, later working for his local MP Gloria De Piero.

It was her seat he won in that memorable landslide election of 2019.
Lee thinks it is this same background which is the secret to his success.

Flashing a grin over a milky cup of tea in a cafe on his patch, he said: “I am the Labour Party’s worst nightmare, because I am everything they want to be.

“They want to be working class. They want to have a proper job. They want to have lived on a rough council estate and had no money. They want to live in an area which was deprived. I’m all those things. I’m a Tory MP.

“They are none of those things. And they are socialists. So I’ve been there and I’ve lived that life.”

Now he has a new job – holding the Red Wall for Rishi Sunak.

He was promoted to deputy party chairman in February. Labour seized on the appointment – gleefully predicting he would be a liability and land himself in trouble.

But Red Wall Tory MPs were delighted. 

Since then, Mr Anderson’s shoot from the hip style has ruffled plenty of feathers.

Critics dub him ‘30p Lee’ after he said people are abusing food banks and can make home-cooked meals for 30p a head.

Others were outraged when he backed the death penalty for the clearest cut murderers – like the Lee Rigby killers.

Doubling down, he does not regret a single comment he has made, adding of the death penalty: “It is not some lunatic fringe opinion, the majority of the British public back me on this.”

When HOAR on Sunday joined Mr Anderson on the local election trail he was out knocking doors for his council candidate Dawn Justice.

It is a tough fight, as the local independent group are fighting tooth and nail to keep control of the council.

But it is Mr Anderson’s own seat of Ashfield that is in trouble.

He has a majority of just 5,733 – one that would be wiped out if current polls are anything to go by.

Yet he is bullish.

On Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, he said:  “There is no love for him. They don’t know what he stands for. They hate the fact he doesn’t know what a woman is….He is slippery, like a used car salesman.”

Labour’s controversial attack ads accusing the PM of personally letting paedos walk free are “desperate” stuff by a leader who knows “he is finished” if he loses the next election, Mr Anderson added.

Like many Red Wall seats, Ashfield was swept away from Labour in a tide of Brexit, Boris and Jeremy Corbyn.

Tory MP Lee Anderson and Deputy chairman talks to political reporter Kate Ferguson about May local elections

But much has changed since that fateful night in December 2019. Brexit is done. Corbyn is gone – and so has Boris.

Mr Anderson said there is still “a lot of love for Boris” in Ashfield, and some locals were “grumpy” when “boring” Rishi got the keys  to No10.

But Rishi is winning them over with his hard work and problem solving on the economy and illegal migration, he said.

He said: “It is Boris territory. But at the end of the day, most people want to put the cross on that ballot paper and then walk away for five years knowing the country will be in good hands.

“I think they feel that Rishi  is a safe pair of hands.  

“You have not got the glamour and glitz and everything that comes with Boris – not that larger than life character Boris is – but he is  seen as a competent problem solver.”

He does not think Bojo will make a comeback as PM, saying: “I don’t think time is on his side.

“I think if he was  ten years younger then maybe. But in politics, you should look forward…I would love to see him run again for London Mayor though.”

Despite the bleak polls, Mr Anderson insists the Tories can win the next election based on three issues –  the economy, illegal immigration and the culture wars.

Savaging Labour for caving in to woke trans activism, he said: “It is getting to the stage, if we don’t nip this in the bud, where you will not be allowed to use the word woman.

“We are not doing this to men – we are not saying ‘person with a prostate’, come and get checked out. We are not doing it to men, we are doing it to women. Why? It is sexism, it is misogyny.”

He added: “Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a culture war in this country – about our identity, our culture, our past history.”

A vocal minority are trying to inflict their views on everyone, he warned.

“We have got to push back and say it is OK to be British, it is OK to be proud of your country and love your flag and stop apologising for who we are.”

On the Channel boats crisis, he said the men in Calais trying to board dinghies are “economic migrants” who think Britain is an El Dorado with streets paved with gold.

“None of them spoke about persecution in their own country and they kept saying the same words to me over and over again,  which was El Dorado”, he said.

“They actually use the words. They were pointing to the Cliffs of Dover and saying ‘El Dorado’.”

Backing housing migrants on barges and RAF bases before sending them to Rwanda, he added: “We have got a choice. It is our backyard…Or we stick them in hotels and ruin our coastal communities, our seasides, our city centres.

“That is the choice we have got.”

He hit out at Gary Lineker’s meddling tweets on Rwanda and said the answer is to “defund the BBC” and turn it into a subscription service like Netflix.

“I’ll tell you what they will change their tune then….they will have to think about their subscriber rather than think about lineker and his silly tweets.”

Ultimately, though, he thinks it will be the economy that decides the next election.

Backing tax cuts next spring, he added: “We have got to make sure people have got more money in their pockets, it is as simple as that.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt should “pull some rabbits out the hat next spring” so people feel good ahead of the election, he said.

As the Tory election campaign cranks up, how does Lee feel about his old comrades in Labour? Does he ever regret leaving?

The answer is a resounding no.

“Corbyn was a big part of it”, he explains.

“I was in a Labour group meeting in February 2018 of the Labour Council. And one of the Momentum members of the council said to me ‘Have you ever read the works of Karl Marx?’ I said no.

“He said why don’t you f**k off then and join the Tory Party? I said you know what mate, that’s not a bad idea So I did. And then a few months later, I was his MP.

But wasn’t he angry with these Momentum types who had seized his party?

“I knew exactly who they were”, Mr Anderson said. 

“These were people who wanted to open a book of condolence for Fidel Castro. These are people who wore Che Guevara T shirts. These people were just lunatics who had hijacked the Labour Party.”

He added: “Corbyn on the doorstep in 2017 – we got chased off the streets…people were saying to us on the doorstep he is a terrorist sympathiser he is terrible he hates the Queen.

“What the Labour Party didn’t realise was the Red Wall – they might be working class people but they are incredibly patriotic. We got virtually chased off the street many times.”

The hardest thing about leaving Labour and becoming a Tory MP was telling his youngest son Harry – a leftwinger and a vegetarian.

“He was a socialist and Labour Party member who was very upset”, Mr Anderson said.

“He was at uni at the time and had leftwing socialist mates who teased him about his dad being in  the Tory party. So that was hard for him as well. But he has come round.”

Lee is close with his two sons Harry and Charlie.

He has just got back from a canal boating weekend away with them in Wales. They go on a barge every year – picking a different spot in the UK each time.

And Lee is even making the effort with Harry’s vegetarianism.
“I have bought him some tofu – whatever that is”, Lee says.

But for now he will be sticking to red meat.