Lee Anderson had a warning to “public nuisance” Steve Bray, the infamous Rejoiner protester outside Parliament, in his first interview since becoming Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Mr Anderson told Express.co.uk: “That fight [over Brexit] isn’t over, we can’t let up and I’m not going to stop taking [Bray] he.”
The popular Red Wall MP was speaking from Uruguay where he has been this week on a trip with parliamentarians and received the news on Tuesday that he is to become a senior member of the Conservative campaign machine.
He said: “To be honest it came completely out of the blue. I wasn’t expecting it at all.
“I was out here in Uruguay and a call came through from the Chief Whip [Simon Hart] asking me if I wanted to become Deputy Chairman.
“It took me about half a second to say yes.
“Obviously, it’s a great honor and amazing when you think that just five years ago I was a Labor councillor. It has been quite a journey.”
Mr Anderson has become a popular figure among the 2019 intake and Red Wall MPs from former Labor safe seats for his relentless campaigning and refusal to back down to leftwingers and Rejoiners.
He said: “I don’t know what the details of the new job are yet in terms of what they want me to do.
“But I don’t expect to change. I still want to be out there banging the drum for the Conservative Party, speaking to the public.”
He also wants to help reconnect the leadership with the party members who have got behind his personal story from Labor activist, trade unionist and former miner to Conservative MP.
The link for Mr Sunak could prove vital with a grassroots rebellion going on with the Conservative Democratic Organization (CDO) fronted by Priti Patel and Boris Johnson ally Lord Cruddas demanding more of a say for members.
“I have given a lot of talks to different associations since I became an MP,” Mr Anderson said.
“I think a lot of members need an arm put around them and a bit of love [from the leadership].
“[The members] are absolutely vital for us, we can’t win without them.”
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Mr Anderson is due to meet the Prime Minister when he returns to the UK but said he had received “a very nice text” from the new boss.
“It’s very difficult to speak by phone from Uruguay, I’ve been using Whatsapp so I haven’t really had a chance to speak to him yet,” he said.
But as Deputy Chairman Mr Anderson has a message for Mr Sunak’s critics who until a few weeks ago included himself.
When Liz Truss resigned Mr Anderson had described himself as an “anybody but Rishi” Tory MP but has changed his mind.
He said: “I have been very impressed to be honest. That’s why I took the job.
“I’ve spoken to him a number of times since he became Prime Minister and I am impressed with what he is saying.
“He is saying and doing the right things on the new immigration bill, opening the coal mine and a number of things. Credit where it is due.”
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Mr Anderson though has insisted he “will not change” and still intends to keep campaigning and pushing issues like teaching people to cook for themselves so they don’t need to use food banks.
The Ashfield MP became known as “30p Lee” after pioneering efforts to show working-class people how to prepare tasty and nutritious meals for 30p each angering wealthy celebrities like Gary Lineker and chef Jack Monroe.
He said: “I’m not going to stop any of that stuff.”
Mr Anderson also said he still wants to keep up his rapport with Express readers.
He said: “The Express and Express readers have given me great support since I became an MP. I want to keep talking to the Express just as I have been.”
One person who will also still see Mr Anderson is the Rejoiner protester Steve Bray with whom he has had a number of clashes.
“I think he’s still going to see a lot of me. I’m not taking one of those big [ministerial] cars. I will still walk to work so I’ll pass him.
“[Bray] is a public nuisance really, everybody knows it.
“Sadly he didn’t agree to a charity boxing match with me but I guess he wouldn’t, would he? It’s a pity we could have raised a bit of money for different causes.”