Lee AndersonMember of Parliament for Ashfield
There is perhaps no greater indication of the distance the Conservative party has come than Ashfield’s election of ex-Labour party councillor Lee Anderson, the constituency’s first elected candidate who is actually from Ashfield. A former miner, Anderson’s working life involved both the Sutton and Welbeck Collieries, as well as Ashfield Citizens Advice Bureau and local homeless charities. He became an office worker for Gloria de Piero, but left the Labour party in 2018 because of the left-wing direction of the Labour Party and in particular the growing influence of Momentum. His differences with Labour policy had previously been apparent in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Anderson’s 2019 campaign was not without controversy; he received allegations of anti-Semitism and criticism for suggesting that tenants of a local council estate should work in fields “picking potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o’clock, same again the next day”. In June 2020, he was one of few MPs to vote against restrictions for protestors of abortion rights outside abortion clinics. In November 2020, he tested positive for Covid-19 triggering Boris Johnson’s self-isolation.
Official parliamentary photograph taken by Chris McAndrew, 2017, licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0