TORY MP Lee Anderson is facing a backlash for suggesting some food bank users “cannot cook properly”.

Anderson, MP for Ashfield, caused outrage on Wednesday after telling the House of Commons that “generation after generation” of people “cannot budget” or make meals properly.

Speaking to Times Radio on Thursday, Anderson doubled down on his remarks, saying he was being criticised for “talking common sense”.

“The point I was trying to make is that I think the actual food bank usage is exaggerated,” he said.

“I work with a local food bank in Ashfield and they’ve got a wonderful initiative where, when people come to the food bank, they’re given a food package but they have to enrol on a cooking course and a budgeting course – that’s the deal.”

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Anderson claimed he and a group of fellow MPs undertook a challenge with a local chef to feed a family of five for £50 a week.

The MP's comments have been heavily criticised, with Labour branding them “beyond belief”, the LibDems describing them as “disgraceful”, and the SNP saying they were “crass”.

Meanwhile the Child Poverty Action Group claimed politicians “would do better to back real-world solutions, like bringing benefits in line with inflation this autumn”, and the Trussell Trust charity insisted “cooking meals from scratch won’t help families keep the lights on or put food on the table, if they don’t have enough money in their pockets”.

So just who is Lee Anderson?

Anderson was a member of Labour for a long time, even serving as a councillor for the party and working as an office manager for former Labour mayor for Ashfield Gloria De Piero.

However, Anderson was suspended from Labour while a councillor back in 2018 after hiring a digger to put concrete blocks on a Traveller camp site to block their access.

After the suspension, Anderson joined the Tories and began serving a nearby ward as a Conservative councillor in 2019. Months later, he was chosen as the Tory candidate for the Ashfield constituency. He won, making the area Tory for the first time since 1979.

The National:

During the campaign, Anderson called for “nuisance” tenants to be sent out to pick vegetables, be forced to take cold showers, and live in tents in fields.

He also made headlines by staging a door-knocking campaign moment with a friend in an incident filmed by a Channel 4 reporter.

The MP has been investigated by the Tories as part of a probe into antisemitism claims, after it emerged he was a member of a Facebook group full of praise for Tommy Robinson and George Soros conspiracy theories.

During the 2021 Euros, Anderson said he would refuse to watch the England team play because they kneel before matches in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

He claimed the players were “supporting a political movement whose core principles aim to undermine our very way of life”.