A CONTROVERSIAL Tory MP who has said that people only use food banks because they cannot cook or budget properly has been voted the party’s best backbencher of 2022.

A panel of Tory members, surveyed by the website ConservativeHome, saw Lee Anderson emerge as their favourite backbench MP of 2022.

The Ashfield MP has courted controversy since his 2019 election as part of the Tories’ “Red Wall” victory – ahead of which he defected from Labour.

He made headlines after condemning the England football team for taking a stance against racism at the Euro 2020 competition, and again in 2022 for refusing to apologise for his comments about food banks in the UK.

READ MORE: Tory MP doubles down on 'disgraceful' food bank rant as he slams 'gutter press'

Speaking in the Commons, Anderson said there was “not this massive use for food banks” in the UK, adding: "We’ve got generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can’t cook a meal from scratch, they cannot budget."

In response, SNP MP Joanna Cherry said food bank use is not because people cannot cook, but because “we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his government”.

The ConservativeHome panel which named Anderson the best their party has to offer consisted of some 650 Tory members.

The poll was not prompted, meaning panelists were free to choose any MP they liked. Of the 181 which received at least one vote, Anderson came first with 54.

Boris Johnson, who was prime minister until he officially quit No 10 in September and has done little to nothing from the backbenches since, came second with 35 votes.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a minister in both Johnson and his successor Liz Truss’s governments, came third with 32 votes.

Former prime minister Theresa May tied with the outspoken John Redwood for fourth place, each winning 29 votes. And Graham Brady – the chair of the backbenchers’ 1922 Committee – came next with 22 votes.

ConservativeHome said that 553 of their panel members had voted for the best backbench MP of 2022, while 96 opted for “don’t know” or to skip the question altogether.