Tory In 'Fake News' Ruse After Calling For Anti-Social Council Tenants To Be Housed In Tents

Tory candidate Lee Anderson's fake doorstep chat (Photo: Mail+)
Tory candidate Lee Anderson's fake doorstep chat (Photo: Mail+)

You’re an election candidate who’s maybe gone a bit too far by calling for anti-social council tenants to be made to live in tents when one of the country’s most senior political journalists shows up... what do you do?

For Tory Lee Anderson, the answer was to set up a fake doorstep conversation in which a “voter” called Steve (actually a friend) suggests the candidate had, in fact, been “too soft”.

But there was one problem – Anderson was caught on journalist Michael Crick’s “hot” microphone setting up the meeting in advance.

He is caught in the act on the video for Mail+ saying: “Make out you know who I am, that you know I’m a candidate but not a friend, alright?

“I’m out in the staff car park, have a quick look.

“Alright me duck I’ll see you in a minute.”

Earlier in the campaign, the candidate for marginal had revealed his “personal” plan to for anti-social council tenants.

“Let’s have ’em in a tent in the middle of a field, six o’clock every morning, let’s have ’em up, let’s have ’em in the fields, picking potatoes or any current seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out six o’clock, the same again the next day.

“That would be my solution.”

When Crick came to Ashfield, a Tory target held by Labour since 1979, Anderson refused to answer questions about his plan, replying simply “no comment”.

A local woman then by chance turned up to upbraid Anderson for “whipping up intolerance”.

But the candidate then activated his cunning plan, taking Crick out on the doorstep in an apparent attempt to show his tents idea was moderate compared to what voters actually wanted.

Steve the “voter” then opens the door, saying he would back the Tories.

Steve then went on: “I watched that video, I think he [Anderson] was a bit soft to be honest.

“I’d give them the cat o’nine tails, make ’em wear a pink tutu, that’d stop ’em bullying anybody.”

Anderson then intervenes to distance himself: “I can’t support that.

“He’s obviously got very strong opinions, but I can’t support that.”

Bizarrely, Anderson then told Crick that the encounter had “finished my political career”.

Crick replied: “It’s almost like it’s been set up for us.”

Of course, watching the day’s recordings back revealed that was exactly what had happened.

Concluding, Crick noted: “In all my years filming elections I’ve long suspected certain candidates set up friendly voters to make them look that much more popular.

“But this is the first time we’ve caught some candidate blatantly in the act.

“A lesson to us, journalists and viewers, that in this world of fake news we should be a little bit more sceptical about what we see on screen.”

Anderson told Mail+ he “just wanted to make sure somebody was in, in that row of houses”.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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