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Reform UK has refuted allegations that it provided financial incentives to Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson in exchange for him switching to their party.
According to The Sunday Times, Mr Anderson, a vocal Member of Parliament who has been representing Ashfield since 2019, stated last month that he had been offered a significant amount of money to join the political party connected to Nigel Farage.
The head of Reform UK, Richard Tice, has denied the statement allegedly made by Mr. Anderson during an event for the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association in the previous month.
The article states that Mr Anderson, as heard in a recording, revealed to activists that he was offered a substantial amount of money by a political party that begins with an R. He emphasized the amount by saying “a lot of money.”
Mr. Tice stated that these are the identical defamatory accusations that were initially made by Simon Hart MP, who is the Chief Whip, in February.
I have received communication from my legal representatives regarding the ongoing case, and I still have the option to pursue it as I see fit.
“I can confirm that I have had many conversations with several Conservative Members of Parliament who are very angry with their leadership.”
Mr. Anderson has received backlash for various statements regarding topics such as food banks and illegal immigration.
At the beginning of this month, following the Supreme Court’s decision to reject the government’s significant asylum program in Rwanda, he proposed that officials should disregard the law and begin deporting asylum seekers to the eastern African country.
However, he is highly regarded by activists and Members of Parliament who align with the right wing of the party.
Earlier, Rishi Sunak cautioned discontented voters against deserting the party in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. This comes as some Conservative MPs are concerned about the potential impact of Reform UK on elections.
According to Mr. Sunak, voting for anyone other than a Conservative candidate means supporting Keir Starmer’s election.
Earlier this year, the Times reported that Mr. Hart had made a complaint to Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle about Reform UK. The complaint alleged that the party had promised MPs who defected a full salary for five years, even if they were not re-elected.
Mr. Rice previously dismissed the allegations as “ridiculous”.
The PA news agency reached out to both the Conservatives whip’s office and Mr Anderson.
The accusations arise while Nigel Farage, the honorary president of the party, makes an appearance on the newest season of ITV’s I’m a Celebrity.
Nigel Farage, who was the leader of Reform UK when it was known as the Brexit Party, has been attempting to gain viewers’ support through his appearance on the reality show.
In recent by-elections, Reform UK has only received a small portion of the vote. However, this has not eased the concerns of some Conservatives who worry that Mr Tice’s party may capitalize on voter dissatisfaction with small boats and immigration in the upcoming general election.
The source is the Independent newspaper’s website.