10 May 2023

Sunak distanced from Lee Anderson’s comments telling protesters to ’emigrate’

10 May 2023

Downing Street has distanced Rishi Sunak from Lee Anderson’s comments after the senior Tory told anti-monarchy activists to emigrate rather than protest.

The Conservative deputy chairman has drawn ire over remarks in which he suggested republican demonstrators leave the country after dozens were arrested over the King’s coronation weekend.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary said on Wednesday: “It’s not something that the Prime Minister has expressed.

“I think all members of the Conservative Party believe in the right to protest.”

Mr Anderson had shared an article about the arrests on Twitter, writing: “Not My King?

“If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards.

“The solution is to emigrate.”

If you do not wish to live in a country that has a monarchy the solution is not to turn up with your silly boards

The comments came after the senior Tory MP previously clashed with Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley over the force’s handling of protesters, telling him to “leave his ivory tower” and deal with with demonstrators in Westminster.

Critics on social media condemned his “anti-democratic” remarks and pointed out the right to protest peacefully, while others expressed support for his opinion.

Jonathan Harris, a Lib Dem councillor in West Northamptonshire, tweeted: “30 p Lee – Idiot on display. You took the rights away for British people to live and work across the EU, and forget that great democracies are built on and absolutely allow the right to peaceful protest.”

Under the controversial new Public Order Act, protesters who have an object with the intention of using it to ‘lock on’ are liable to a fine, with those who block roads facing 12 months in prison.

Mr Sunak defended the legislation and thanked police for their “hard work” at the King’s coronation during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier on Wednesday.

He told MPs: “It is… the right of the British public to be able to go about their ordinary day-to-day lives without undue, serious disruption.

“That is why it is right that the police have extra powers.”

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