Disgraced MP defends Tory politician’s England game boycott over taking the knee
A disgraced Welsh MP has defended a Tory politician’s decision to boycott England matches because the team as been taking the knee.
Rob Roberts, who represents Delyn, and was suspended from the UK Parliament for sexual harassment, came to the aid of Lee Anderson, the MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, who he described as the “epitome of a conviction politician”.
Anderson has been ridiculed for his boycott after England made it to the final of Euro 2020, where they’ll play Italy.
He said he won’t watch the match, but has conceded that he will be checking the score on his phone and cheering on the team.
England players began taking the knee before the start of the football tournament in a show of solidarity against racism.
Roberts, who is now allowed to return to the House of Commons following a 6 week suspension, has suggested Westminster “needs more people like Lee” after the decision to boycott matches because of the team’s peaceful protest.
He also hit out at “spiteful and abusive jibes” that have been sent to him on social media, saying they “highlight” what’s “wrong with political discourse”.
Rob Roberts said: “Whatever anyone thinks of his words and actions, Lee Anderson MP is the epitome of a ‘conviction politician’ and without me making any comment whatsoever about this particular issue, he has his view and sticks to it and the nasty spiteful and abusive jibes he has received from other politicians and people on social media highlight so much that is wrong with political discourse.
“Parliament needs more people like Lee. People who are sure of their beliefs and convictions and not those who change direction more often than the wind.”
He added: “Looking at the nasty and hateful campaign that surrounded the Batley and Spen by-election last week and the way people in the public eye are generally treated on social media, it is no surprise that so few people want to get into politics and actively avoid even discussing it.”
In a video update on his Facebook page while sporting an England T-shirt, Lee Anderson said: “I’ve had a bit of abuse about my decision not to watch the England matches. That’s my decision, I’m not forcing my views on anybody else.
“I don’t like the taking the knee business, I think it associates with Black Lives Matter movement.
“I know the England players don’t think it does, but it does, it does to me. But that’s their choice to take the knee, and it’s my choice not to watch the matches.
“I will be supporting England on Sunday night, I’ll be wishing them along, I’ll be checking my phone for updates to see if they’ve scored and cheering if they have. I hope they win and I hope it comes home.”