Is Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith set to follow Lee Anderson’s lead and defect to Reform UK?

Speculation is mounting that Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith may be set to follow Lee Anderson’s lead and defect to Reform UK.
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Political commentators have named Mr Clarke-Smith as one potential MP who may be set to jump ship.

The speculation started swirling about the future of Mr Clarke-Smith just hours after Ashfield MP Lee Anderson left the Conservatives to join Reform UK.

Mr Anderson, who has been Ashfield’s MP since 2019, was suspended from the Conservative Party after refusing to apologise for saying Islamists had ‘control’ of London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.
Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.

He now becomes Reform UK’s first sitting MP.

Speaking at the announcement alongside Reform UK leader Richard Tice, Mr Anderson said: “I want my country back.

"For the last year, or so, I’ve have to do a lot of soul searching on my political journey and I don’t expect much from politics other than to be able to speak my mind and speak on behalf of of my friends, family and constituents.”

Reform tried to woo Mr Anderson to join them back in January after he rebelled against the Government in the vote on the Rwanda bill.

Mr Clarke-Smith – a close ally of Mr Anderson joined him in quitting as Tory deputy chairmen over the Rwanda Bill

At the time, however, Mr Anderson said he felt the Conservative Party was the best place for him and he would be standing as a Tory candidate at the election.

Rishi Sunak is now facing the threat of a Red Wall meltdown as Reform UK leaders ring round Tories to persuade them to defect.

Reform founder Nigel Farage hailed it as a a 'huge moment' and hinted at more to come.

Mr Clarke-Smith and Mr Anderson have enjoyed a close relationship during their political career with Mr Clarke-Smith even being spoon fed baked beans by Mr Anderson on his GB News Show.

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The exchange came as the pair discussed the price of baked beans in a segment on the show.

And the speculation about Mr Clarke-Smith’s political future comes just a week after he praised Mr Anderson for attending his Tory fundraiser with Liz Truss.

Mr Clarke-Smith has not yet responded for a request to comment on the speculation.