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Dive Deeper:
Who is Lee Anderson, the Tory MP causing outrage with his food bank comments?
TORY MP Lee Anderson is facing a backlash for suggesting some food bank users “cannot cook properly”.
Tory MP Lee Anderson defends saying food bank users ‘cannot cook properly’
The Ashfield MP said people use food banks because they ‘cannot budget’.
Lee Anderson: Tory MP tells struggling families to learn to cook so they can ‘cut back on chip shop’
A Tory MP who insisted there is little need for food banks has said struggling families should learn to cook…
Notts MP Lee Anderson defends food banks comments after saying people use them because they 'cannot cook properly'
He was backed by Conservative MP for Mansfield Ben Bradley
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Angela Rayner jokes Tory MP Lee Anderson will be eating Space Raiders for dinner after foodbank comments
The Tory MP faced calls to apologise after suggesting people relying on foodbanks could make a meal 'for about 30p…
Minister distances Government from Tory MP Lee Anderson’s food bank comments
The MP for Ashfield is facing a backlash for saying people use food banks because they ‘cannot cook properly’ and…
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Lee Anderson: Who is the controversial MP?

By Tom Blackburn

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson is in hot water again after implying that people reliant on food banks “cannot budget” and “cannot cook food properly”. His remarks have caused anger, amid rising poverty and food insecurity due to the cost of living crisis.

Anderson, a Conservative, was speaking in the House of Commons during a debate on the Queen’s Speech when he claimed that “there is not this massive use for food banks in this country" and that there had been “generation after generation who cannot cook properly”.

The remarks received an angry response, coming at a time when millions of households across the country are struggling with rising prices, soaring energy bills and falling wages. But who is Lee Anderson - and what controversies has he been embroiled in before?

READ MORE: Notts MP Lee Anderson says lack of basic cooking and budgeting skills is fuelling food bank use

Who is Lee Anderson?

Lee Anderson is a Conservative politician and the current MP for Ashfield. A former coal miner, Anderson was elected as a Labour Party councillor in Ashfield in 2015; he also worked as office manager for the constituency’s former Labour MP, Gloria De Piero.

He joined the Tories in March 2018 and was subsequently elected as a councillor in Mansfield in the local elections the following year. Anderson was elected as Conservative MP for Ashfield at the 2019 general election, winning by a majority of 5,733 votes.

However, Anderson was at the centre of controversy during the election campaign after saying that “nuisance” council tenants should be forced to live in tents and pick vegetables. Labour described this as a call for "forced labour camps".

Anderson was also investigated by his party over claims of antisemitism during the campaign. The investigation followed allegations that he’d been a member of a Facebook group in which conspiracy theories about George Soros - who is Jewish - were promoted.

He was on the receiving end of further criticism in 2020, after co-signing a letter with a number of other Tory MPs and peers in the Daily Telegraph which alluded to “cultural Marxism”. The term refers to what is widely acknowledged as an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

Last year, Anderson made headlines again when he said he would not be watching the England football team in Euro 2020, and objected to players taking the knee before games as an anti-racist gesture. He also described Black Lives Matter as “a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life”.

What did Lee Anderson say about food banks?

Lee Anderson said in a House of Commons debate this week that “there is not this massive use for food banks in this country”, suggesting that people who found themselves reliant on food banks to feed themselves "cannot budget" and "cannot cook properly". He was discussing a “brilliant scheme” at the food bank in his constituency of Ashfield which, he said, requires people who claim food parcels to register for cooking and budgeting courses. The courses instruct people how to cook on a budget and manage money.

“I think you will see there is not this massive use for food banks in this country. We have got generation after generation who cannot cook properly. They cannot cook a meal from scratch. They cannot budget,” he added.

Figures from the Trussell Trust recently revealed that the charity had provided more than 2.1 million emergency food parcels between April 1st, 2021 and March 31st this year. This included 832,000 food parcels for children.

For more stories from where you live, visit InYourArea.

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Dive Deeper:
Who is Lee Anderson, the Tory MP causing outrage with his food bank comments?
TORY MP Lee Anderson is facing a backlash for suggesting some food bank users “cannot cook properly”.
Tory MP Lee Anderson defends saying food bank users ‘cannot cook properly’
The Ashfield MP said people use food banks because they ‘cannot budget’.
Lee Anderson: Tory MP tells struggling families to learn to cook so they can ‘cut back on chip shop’
A Tory MP who insisted there is little need for food banks has said struggling families should learn to cook…
Notts MP Lee Anderson defends food banks comments after saying people use them because they 'cannot cook properly'
He was backed by Conservative MP for Mansfield Ben Bradley
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Angela Rayner jokes Tory MP Lee Anderson will be eating Space Raiders for dinner after foodbank comments
The Tory MP faced calls to apologise after suggesting people relying on foodbanks could make a meal 'for about 30p…
Minister distances Government from Tory MP Lee Anderson’s food bank comments
The MP for Ashfield is facing a backlash for saying people use food banks because they ‘cannot cook properly’ and…
Get all your news in one place