Lee Anderson on Election Results

Well what a night it’s been so far Lee Anderson, but we have no conclusions to anything much apart from the odd police and crime commissioner, that’s results that’s come in. We’ve got two for Labour, one for the Conservatives at the moment which leaves another 35 to declare on that.

We got another 70 councils to declare all their seats at the moment, but one thing we do know is of course the parliamentary by-election which was Blackpool South, Scott Benton who was there for the Tories, had to go and he’s been replaced Now by Chris Webb for the Labour party with a huge swing but what about Reform UK? In all of this they were hoping to come in second. They didn’t do it, let’s talk to their MP for Ashfield Lee Anderson who joins us now good to see you this morning.

What do you make of this I mean it’s sort of close but no cigar isn’t it? They’re very close there, that’s been a good night for Lee but it’s not been a very good night for the Conservative party but to get 16.9% in the by-election in Blackpool is absolutely fantastic, it’s our best ever by-election result.

I was thinking about 15-16%, just a 100 or so votes behind the Conservative candidate you know, with a few more resources and a little bit you know more campaigning maybe, if we got more bodies up there, we’d probably pick the toys on this one, but this, we’re making massive strides.

I mean when you look at our polling from two or three years ago we was on 3 or 4% and now we’re getting you know 17% nearly in a by-election 30%+ in Sunderland in one of the council Wards there so we’re on the up, the trajectory and our poll rating is going up, the Conservative party is coming down. We’ve sort of met in the middle in areas like mine in the Midlands and in the north and we’re only going one way and the Conservative party are going another way, so come the election we’ll be ready.

Tories in Freefall

So going ahead is the plan to just try and damage the Tories as much as possible in the general election because Lee, until recently you were of course the Tory Deputy Chairman so just wondering personally, how it feels that you clearly damaged the Tories in Blackpool South and helped Labour, gave them their Victory.

Look Ellie, I’m in this job to make our country a better place to live and working and bring up our children, our families whatever, look politics is a brutal game you know there are winners and losers in every election and when I stand for election in Ashfield this year somebody’s going to lose, going to be four or five people lose, it could be me, I think I’ll probably win, but you know we do this job for a reason and there’s no time for sentiment.

Yes, some of my colleagues and the Conservative party will lose their seats and many of those will be friends of mine and I’m still friends with them and I will still be friends with them after the election, but that’s the game we’re in, it’s quite brutal.

I mean you need to be get polling the sort of 20% mark according to our very own Nigel Nelson in the studio, you need to be hitting that 20% mark in order to start pulling in seats right which is clearly what any political party wants. Is the only way to do that to bring in Nigel Farage?

Well, I mean it’s not very often Nigel Nelson gets his facts right but on this one he’s spot on. If we got 20% and above that’s when we start winning seats in Parliament, now I’m being flippant there, Nigel Nelson is a great man but look, if Nigel Farage keeps getting asked the question is he coming back? I don’t know it’s up to Nigel and we have spoken to him about it, he’s keeping his cards close to his chest if you like, but it’s all about timing with Nigel.

Lee Anderson on Nigel Farage

If he did come back in some capacity there would be a massive boost for the Reform Party and that’s when the Conservative party will really start to worry and let me tell you this as well, in some of the red wall seats in the north the Labour party will be worried as well because Nigel goes down pretty well in these areas.

I did want to ask you about that because Richard Tice is talking overnight speaking about the Reform Party, said he wants to be seen as the big opposition in red wall seats. That’s a really interesting turn of phrase isn’t it to be the best opposition? Well, I mean it’s a step up from where we started a few years back, like I said before you know Reform was polling 3% or 4% and hardly getting any votes at all. Now we’ve been studying you, we had about 300 odd Council candidates we’ve just come third in the by-election, got a record result, we’re on the up and now if we can overtake the Conservatives and be the opposition, that’s progress.

The next step after that is to overtake the Labour party, that’s just a simple political progression, oh yeah, fair enough but how within that, I mean if you’re going to make that sort of progress as you know all political parties here, you’ve got to win over the Centre ground at some point haven’t you, because that’s how you win a general election by winning the centre ground.

Those people who are undecided so I mean, how would you do that when you seem to be positioned you know considerably to the to the right of Centre ground? Well, I keep hearing this argument, even about winning the centre ground you know the last election wasn’t fought on the centre ground and the Conservative party got an 80-seat majority so that’s quite a nonsense argument.

So you know that the people in this country are I’ve always said this even when I, Lee Anderson was in the Labour party very socially conservative, they’re worried about immigration, legal and illegal migration, and both parties will fail us on this and if we can get a party you know, get a party like Reform UK who are very strong on immigration, very strong on Law and Order, very strong on our national identity, that’s what the people in this country want.

Does the Centre Ground win Elections?

Yeah, but in terms of the last election I mean there’s two arguments; one is that it was a single-issue election because of Brexit, now Labour, the Labour party hated that but it was the Brexit election there’s no doubt about it, but also of course the Labour option was so far to the left at that point under Jeremy Corbin that was off putting for people so it wasn’t your stereotypical election was it?

No it wasn’t and you’re quite right, but go to the election before that 2017 the Tory party was pretty much in the centre ground then what happened then? That was a disaster, go back to 2010 you know the election when the Conservative party you know took it away from Labour, you couldn’t get more Centre than Cameron still could not get a majority.

We need clear dividing lines in this country and the Reform Party offer that. The rise of Reform UK is quite remarkable when we talk about the difference even from just a few short years ago, what do you put that down to, are people just very cross with what the Tories are offering right now?

I think so, well I think people are just fed up with mainstream politics, that’s the feedback I get on the doorstep. Lots of people love to vote for the Conservative party as Stephen said earlier in 2019 people like my parent’s people like my friends and family in Ashfield voted Conservative for the very first time and Boris stood there on the steps of Downing Street and he says you know you’ve lent your vote, I get it, I won’t let you down, but unfortunately these first time voters have been let down, they feel disappointed.

The Plot: Nadine Dorries Amazon Ad

Reform UK ‘Contract with You”

It was a tough gig for these people to vote Conservative after a lifetime of voting Labour, they’re not in love with Keir Starmer, they don’t like what the Labour party stands for, that’s if they know what the Labour party stands for so they’re looking at Reforms “contract with the people” there some pretty good things on there that people resonate with yeah, and look I think that it’s a different argument when you talk about Labour voters voting for Reform, it’s a whole different set of issues but on the Tories who are tempted to Reform and you know there’s lots who email in and watch and listen to GB news, at what point does it become a real support or how much of it is and the Lib Dems had to put up with this for a long time, the idea that it was just a protest vote because they’re so angry at the Conservatives.

Well, I think yeah I think we have to look you have to split the country up in into its geography a little bit Stephen because we’ve got the North and the Midlands are very Brexit sort of areas where people would be more inclined to vote for Reform UK you know Labour voters and Conservative voters and then we’re looking in the south of the country where you know we’re looking at the Lib Dems and the Labour against the Conservatives as well and so the political geography in this country is a little bit upside down.

Traditionally you know we had the Conservative seats in the South I think there’s going to be a lot of damage done in the Southwest is especially with the Labour party and the Lib Dems, that’s going to hurt the Conservative party, likewise in the north if we get our act together and our polling increases at the rate it is at the moment you know 20% and above, we’re going to be picking seats up at the general election in the north and in the Midlands.

I mean you you’re creating a lot of noise as you say, if you get to that 20%, you’ll be pulling in seats but that is going to be a challenge for you Lee Anderson, isn’t it?

Winning isn’t easy – But it can be done

Well of course it’s a challenge you know, this is not an easy industry Ellie to work in you have to work hard for every single vote, you have to get your message out there, but we’re out there campaigning, we’re out there knocking doors, we giving people a real choice between us and the two mainstream parties and look you know with Nigel Farage you know hovering around, lurking around in the background if he does come back and give us that little bit of a boost then I’ll tell you what, that’ll put the cat among the pigeons.

It’s the idea of you making quite a noise Lee Anderson, I’ve got to say it makes a difference to public perception, is important in all of this and you know you’re a Reform MP now, what difference would it make if there were more Reform MPs in this Parliament and how many of your former colleagues are you talking to?

Well, I tell you what difference it would make to me personally if there were more Reform MPs in Parliament, I wouldn’t have to sit next to George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn on a daily basis, that would be great news for me that’d be a little bit of company! But there is yeah there is a quite a few people in the Conservative party who’ve got the same politics as me, I used to sit with them on the green benches just a few weeks ago and it’s very sad for me sometimes, to see my friends there you know when I think, well you’ve got the same politics as me, but they’re going to go down with the ship.

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Lee Anderson on Future Defections to Reform UK

I think Parliament is a better place with those sorts of people in Parliament and myself so I’m not actively encouraging people to join the Reform Party but my door is always open if they want to have that little chat over a single malt at night time. I will gladly speak to my ex-colleagues.

So you don’t think we’re going to see any more defections soon Lee? Well, I’m not sure Ellie, I mean look at today, it’s going to be disaster for the Conservative party and sadly I mean the sad thing about this guys, is there’s going to be a lot of hardworking Conservative counsellors lose their seats through no fault of their own.

It’s the national picture, it’s the disaster what’s in Number 10 at the moment it’s going to cost hundreds of seats up and down the country and who knows what’s going to happen over the next few days, probably Sunday we’ll have a clearer idea what the results will be in by then and there’ll be a few of my old colleagues you know sat there Sunday afternoon thinking you know, staring into space and thinking what’s going to happen to me in a few months’ time.

You know, I would say to these people look the good ones out there because there’s still plenty of good Conservative MPs in there you know Parliament is a better place with you people in and Reform UK are going to win seats at the next election I’m convinced of that.