Steerpike Steerpike

Sadiq Khan takes a pop at Lee Anderson over asylum seeker comments

(Credit: Getty images)

Has Lee Anderson finally gone too far? Still reeling after finding out his son turned vegetarian at university (‘shocking, absolutely shocking’), the Tory party deputy chairman told the Express that illegal migrants who don’t want to be housed on barges should ‘f*** off back to France’.

‘I think people have just had enough’, he told the paper. ‘These people come across the Channel in small boats, if they don’t like the conditions they are housed in here then they should go back to France or better not come at all in the first place.’

Anderson’s remarks have predictably riled up the usual cast of characters. ‘A new low even for the Tories’, tweeted Labour MP Diane Abbott last night. Anderson was trying to ‘make ignorance and bigotry mainstream Tory policy’, said LBC’s James O’Brien.

‘Language matters. This lot have been in Government for 13 years. After their abject failure all that’s left is stoking up more division and hate’, added London Mayor Sadiq Khan. 

Mr Steerpike can’t help but wonder that if Khan thinks Anderson needs a more welcoming attitude towards asylum seekers, why the Mayor didn’t volunteer to house a barge on the Thames, where they could’ve enjoyed access to London’s world-class amenities? Back in June, the Home Office considered using the Royal Docks, in East London, as a mooring, but the Mayor said the location would be ‘unsafe and unworkable’.

‘Vulnerable people fleeing appalling circumstances would not have access to the support they need’, Khan said at the time. It doesn’t quite add up.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles


Written by

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this article


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in