Boris Johnson told to learn from Margaret Thatcher and ‘stop trying to please everybody’

·2 min read
Boris Johnson 'tries to please too many people', says Lee Anderson, Tory MP for Ashfield - Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg
Boris Johnson 'tries to please too many people', says Lee Anderson, Tory MP for Ashfield - Valeria Mongelli/Bloomberg

Boris Johnson needs to learn from Margaret Thatcher and stop trying to please everybody, one of the most prominent “red wall” Tory MPs has said.

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, said that he wanted the Prime Minister to "take a side" and back his own convictions, as Mrs Thatcher did when she won three consecutive elections in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

"I wish sometimes you wouldn't try and please everybody,” said Mr Anderson of the Prime Minister. “He tries to please too many people.

"Sometimes in politics, you have to take a side is as simple as that. You can't sit on the fence."

Mr Anderson is a former coal miner who was a Labour councillor until 2018, when he jumped ship and joined the Conservatives. He stood to be the local MP at the following year’s general election.

Lee Anderson was speaking on Chopper's Politics podcast - Jeff Gilbert for The Telegraph
Lee Anderson was speaking on Chopper's Politics podcast - Jeff Gilbert for The Telegraph

He said: "You've just got to go for it.

“Even Maggie, who I disliked with a passion back in the day, you knew where he stood with her. If she went into battle, she wasn't wavering.

"I would like to see a bit of Maggie back. Even though I couldn't stand her at the time. She was what this country needed at that time. We were on our a— really in this country, it was unions running the place. Nothing was getting done."

Mr Anderson's prescription for Mr Johnsons' current ills is to "cut tax all day long”, adding: “I can't think of any economy that's failed after cutting taxes."

Mr Anderson was also critical of Steve Bray, the anti-Brexit campaigner, whose speakers - which play protest songs outside Parliament - were confiscated under a new anti-protest law that came into force this week.

Police speak to Steve Bray, after his loudspeakers were confiscated this week - Peter Nicholls/Reuters
Police speak to Steve Bray, after his loudspeakers were confiscated this week - Peter Nicholls/Reuters

"I haven't got a problem with Steve,” said Mr Anderson. “He is a prolific nuisance. My problem is grown men hanging around the streets all day dressed in silly outfits, not contributing towards society.

"I'll tell you what Steve Bray is. He's like that Japanese soldier wandering around a jungle island 40 years after the war has ended, no shoes and socks on, bayonet fixed, still wanting to fight to the death over a lost cause."

Listen to Friday's Chopper's Politics interview with Lee Anderson MP, as well as David Mundell MP, former Scottish secretary, on a possible second referendum on Scottish independence, and Phillip Lee, the former Tory MP, on what it was like to cross the floor and join the Liberal Democrats. Listen at http://playpodca.st/Chopper

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