FORMER Tory party vice chairman Lee Anderson has admitted his words were “clumsy” but doubled down on his criticism of Sadiq Khan.

In a fresh attack on Khan, Anderson accused the London Mayor of “double standards for political benefit”.

Anderson's previous remarks about Khan sparked an Islamophobia row, and the now independent MP has refused to apologise for his comments. 

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He lost the Tory whip over the weekend after failing to apologise for claiming “Islamists” had “got control” of Khan and London.

In a statement released via GB News on Monday, Anderson said: “If you are wrong, apologising is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

“But when you think you are right you should never apologise because to do so would be a sign of weakness.”

He said he had made comments “that some people thought were divisive”.

The National:

“Politics is divisive and I am just incredibly frustrated about the abject failures of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.”

He also said: “My words may have been clumsy but my words were borne out of sheer frustration at what is happening to our beautiful capital city.”

Anderson added that Khan had called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict “weeks ago with no conditions while the hostages are still there being held at gunpoint by a terrorist organisation". 

“Hundreds of people had been arrested for racist abuse on these marches and we barely hear a peep from the mayor," he said. 

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"If these marches were about something less fashionable Sadiq Khan would have been the first to call for them to be cancelled. It’s double standards for political benefit.”

Anderson added:  “Khan has stood by and allowed our police to turn a blind eye to the disgusting scenes around Parliament. It is not my intention to upset anyone, I believe in free speech and have 100% respect for people of all backgrounds.”

He concluded: “We’ve got to get Khan out at the elections in May.”

It comes as the Prime Minister said Anderson’s remarks that sparked an Islamophobia row “weren’t acceptable, they were wrong”, as he denied the Tory Party has Islamophobic tendencies.

Sunak addressed the row on Monday after facing growing calls to speak out about the former Tory deputy chairman’s comments.

Speaking to local BBC radio stations during a visit to North Yorkshire, the Prime Minister said: “I think it’s incumbent on all of us, especially those elected to Parliament, not to inflame our debates in a way that’s harmful to others.

“Lee’s comments weren’t acceptable, they were wrong. And that’s why he had the whip suspended.”

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Sunak continued: “Clearly his choice of words wasn’t acceptable, it was wrong.”

“Words matter, especially in the current environment where tensions are running high and I think it’s incumbent on all of us to choose them carefully.”

Asked whether his party has an Islamophobia problem, the Prime Minister said: “No, of course it doesn’t”.