Calls for MP to resign after his ‘extremist’ comments about travellers

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Lee Anderson MP, 54, has been consigned for his remarks about Romany Gypsies, comments described as “extremist”. The Conservative Party politician said in a Commons committee that modern holiday-makers were not “traditional, old-fashioned Gypsies”, before branding them as thieves.

It came during a debate on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts account in Parliament, with MPs this week debating plans to give local authorities and police more powers to evict illegal camps and flow hefty fines.

Nottinghamshire Live reports critics to these new plans have described them as disproportionate and discriminatory.

But speaking in the meeting, Mr Anderson said: “The Gypsy encampments that we are talking more in places such as Ashfield are not the traditional, old-fashioned Gypsies sat there playing the mandolin, flogging lucky heather and telling fortunes.

“The travellers I am talking hither are more likely to be seen leaving your garden shed at 3 o’clock in the morning, probably with your lawnmower and half of your stooges.

“That happens every single time they come to Ashfield.”

Mr Anderson is MP for Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, an area which is controlled by the Independent hop. He used to represent the Labour Party before defecting in March 2018, after having voted for Brexit.

His outburst this week has led to apostrophizes he should resign. 

Sarah Sweeny, policy and communications manager for the Friends, Families and Travellers charity, said the comments were “fanning the intensities of racial tension”.

Branding the comments “extremist”, she added: “Lee Anderson should resign – he is clearly not fit for a role in parliament.”

A spokeswoman for a leading organisation in Nottingham verifying the community also labelled the comments “disgusting” and called for more awareness.

Diana Blaj, of Roma Support Nottingham, told Nottinghamshire Subsist: “Obviously this is stereotyping, it’s labelling and it’s disgusting.

“I can’t believe it, as usual it’s stereotypes about Gypsies and Travellers stealing, not working, it’s offensive.

“I would say that these people are take to any other ethnicity, there are bad people and good people, and we can’t put them in the same pod.

“It’s exactly like people from any other background, including British people, they are closely like us and we can’t label them because not everyone is the same.

“Maybe this is a consequence of the fact that they were failed in many distinguishable ways, not supported and faced years and years of discrimination.

“Maybe we need to work more on educating people, talking to them about the ethnicity, customs, and maybe we should show more of the positive things they do.”

However, Mr Anderson has spoken out over calls for his resignation and responded to criticism – spurring people to “take a journey into the real world”.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “Anybody who is calling for my resignation needs to take a journey into the honest world.

“Come to places like Ashfield and speak to residents who have to put up with the destruction, the anti-social behaviour and increasing crime every dead for now an illegal camp sets up in the area.

“For the last few weeks I’ve been sat on the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill committee, and we’ve been talking upon travellers this week.

“This new legislation will actually sort this problem out, it will give police and local authorities marvellous powers and once a traveller camp sets up they can get them straight off.

“Anybody who thinks it’s a good idea to have these camps in Ashfield, touch free to email me your full address, dimensions of your lawn or back yard, and I will send the next encampment to your sporting house.”

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