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Police assessing hate speech report against Anderson

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The Metropolitan Police is “assessing” a report of hate speech made against MP Lee Anderson after he accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of being controlled by Islamists, according to media reports.

The police said an unknown complainant approached them a day after Anderson made the controversial remark on a TV channel that “Islamists” had “got control” of Khan, who happens to be London’s first Muslim mayor, The Sun reports.

They could either escalate the case and launch a full investigation or dismiss it due to lack of substantial evidence, the newspaper added.

Anderson’s remarks against the London mayor had sparked outrage, but he refused to apologise and was suspended from the Tory party. The Ashfield MP feels that prime minister Rishi Sunak made a mistake in suspending him.

Though Conservative party leadership, including the prime minister, feel what Anderson said was wrong, they have been reluctant to call him a racist or Islamophobic.

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Some of Anderson’s party colleagues said his choice of words may be wrong, but the issues he raised were valid.

Former minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said his concerns about Islamism were legitimate and the party should not have suspended him.

Former home secretary Suella Braverman has dismissed the controversy over Anderson’s speech as “hysteria” and wanted Sunak to promptly address Islamist extremism in the UK.

Sunak tried to douse the flames of outrage by saying that the Conservative party has no Islamophobic tendencies and he being the prime minister was ‘living proof’ that Britain is not a racist country.

The Labour Party has been quick to condemn the ambivalent stand taken by the Tories.

Khan wrote in Evening Standard that the Conservative party was ‘stubbornly refusing’ to call Anderson’s remarks ‘prejudiced and racist’.

Labour party chair Anneliese Dodds had recently told Sky News that the Tory MPs “rallying round” Anderson “shows the extent of the problem within the Conservative Party” and that the PM is “too weak” to deal with it.

Meanwhile, Anderson now sits as an independent in the House of Commons and recently got an offer from Reform UK, formerly known as the Brexit Party. He has not ruled out joining the right-wing organisation that holds very strong views against immigration.

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