A Tory MP Has Called On Voters To Back Reform UK's Lee Anderson

Nick Fletcher MP speaks during the Northern Research Group conference at Doncaster Racecourse last June.
Nick Fletcher MP speaks during the Northern Research Group conference at Doncaster Racecourse last June. Danny Lawson - PA Images via Getty Images

A Tory MP risks being disciplined by party bosses after he urged voters to back Reform UK’s Lee Anderson at the election.

Nick Fletcher made the extraordinary comments in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

He said he regretted Anderson’s decision to quit the Conservatives after he lost the party whip for refusing to apologise for saying London mayor Sadiq Khan had “given our capital city away to his mates”.

Anderson, a former Tory deputy chairman, announced that he was defecting to Reform UK and will fight his Ashfield seat for the party at the general election.

In his post, Fletcher, the Conservative MP for Don Valley, described Anderson as Ashifield’s “greatest champion”, despite the fact that the Tories will have their own candidate in the seat.

Fletcher said: “I so wish Lee Anderson had remained with the Conservatives.

“However having lost the whip it would mean the Conservative Party would choose someone other than Lee to fight the election in Ashfield. I can understand in those circumstances why he joined Reform.

“Ashfield has its greatest champion and I hope they appreciate what he has done for his home town and his country at the next election.

“I hope my constituents see that a vote for me in Doncaster is also the right thing to do. I am a lone voice in parliament shouting up for Doncaster. We both need to be back in Westminster along with [Tory MPs] Ben Bradley, Brendan Clarke and Marco Longhi.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “The fact a Conservative MP is urging voters to back Reform at the general election demonstrates just how out of control, divided and ungovernable the Tories have become under a weak prime minister.

Rishi Sunak’s failure to take action is further proof that - after 14 years of Tory chaos - the government are clinging on to the hope that a grubby, last-ditch deal with Reform will save them: yet again putting the needs of the Tory party before the good of the country.

“If the Tories do not remove the whip from Nick Fletcher for endorsing Reform, then they have given up on governing altogether.”

Lib Dem deputy leader Daisy Cooper MP said: “It seems even Conservative MPs don’t want the Conservatives to win. Voters are sick to the back teeth of this never-ending circus of infighting.

“Rishi Sunak needs to find his backbone and kick Nick Fletcher out of the Conservative Party. Failure to do so would show yet again that he’s too weak to control his party let alone govern the country.”

Fletcher’s comments came after Anderson announced that he would not be campaigning in Fletcher’s seat, as well as those of Bradley, Clarke-Smith or Longhi.

In a post on Facebook, he said: “These people are my friends and the ones that reached out to me last month.

“They will always be my friends and because of this I will not campaign against them in their parliamentary seats.

“Friendship means more to me. Every other seat is fair game.”

A Conservative spokesperson said: “Nick has made clear he wants to see as many conservatives as possible elected. A vote for Reform is a vote to let Keir Starmer into No.10.”