Nottingham Post

Lee Anderson’s former Labour boss says he must be ‘quite lonely’ in Parliament


FORMER Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero says her successor Lee Anderson’s life in Parliament must be “quite lonely” after he became the only Reform UK MP.

Mr Anderson was once Mrs De Piero’s caseworker when he was in the Labour Party, before leaving over disagreeme­nts with the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. He went on to join the Conservati­ves, winning Ashfield in 2019 and serving for a time as Conservati­ve Party deputy chairman. The Conservati­ves later suspended the Ashfield MP after comments he made about Sadiq Khan and he then made the decision to join Reform. Mrs De Piero, pictured, spoke about her views on her former political staffer on Matt Forde’s The Political Party podcast, released on Monday. Mrs De Piero herself chose not to stand at the 2019 election due to her own disagreeme­nts with the Labour Party leadership, but she remains a member. Speaking about Mr Anderson’s 2019 win, Mrs De Piero said: “I felt very sorry for the Labour candidate, who is a personal friend. Obviously I hadn’t spoken to Lee for some time and I saw his maiden speech and it was good. I messaged him to tell him it was a good maiden speech.

“I got on with Lee. I think the representa­tion of Lee is somewhat of a caricature now. He can be very funny, he can be very good company, can be clever, and I liked him.

“That’s the level of friendship that we had then and we don’t have now. I talk to him, of course I talk to him. I don’t really hate anyone, I don’t bear animosity. People make their own decisions and live with those decisions.”

Speaking about Mr Anderson’s decision to leave Labour, Mrs De Piero said: “I know why he says he left but the way I think about these things is clear. Lee had been a member of the Labour Party since he was 16... You have a set of principles and you join a party that most reflects them. Your party will go through ups and down and it’s my view that your job is to argue for your sort of kind of Labour in the Labour Party.”

Mrs De Piero said she had not spoken to him since his move to Reform because she had not “bumped into him”. “I know what Parliament’s like, you have friends in your respective parties, it must be quite hard... If there’s only one of you, I suspect it could be quite lonely, but Lee is a tough character so he might be all right.”

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