Boris ally defects to Labour over party’s for ‘f*** business’ attitude

Boris Johnson discusses partygate and Brexit three years on

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A former ally of Boris Johnson has defected to Labour, citing the party’s alleged “f*** business” attitude. Iain Anderson, who was named as an ‘LGBT business champion’ in Boris Johnson’s government in September 2021, has turned his back on the party after nearly 40 years of loyalty. The founder of the Cicero public relations firm, who is a friend of former prime minister Liz Truss and levelling-up secretary Michael Gove, said it is no longer the “party it used to be”.

He added: “I can’t defend it”.

Mr Anderson switched his support to the Labour party after a recent meeting with Sir Keir Starmer about business policy.

The business leader says he believes the Labour leader will “do what he says”.

When he was appointed as Mr Johnson’s LGBT business champion, the then Minister for women and equalities spoke of his “considerable experience working with a range of businesses” saying he would be crucial in developing policies to improve the workplace for LGBT people.

Mr Anderson, who wrote a book on Tory-business relations, quit the role a year later, taking issue with the Government’s approach to transgender issues.

He claimed that ministers were “trying to drive a wedge” between trans and lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Speaking to the Financial Times about his recent decision to turn his back on the Tory party, Mr Anderson said: “The first thing is the party’s relationship with business”, saying its approach seemed to reflect Johnson’s infamous comment “f*** business” in relation to Brexit.

Mr Anderson added: “I’ve tried to understand why a Conservative leader could say that and nobody in the party blinked an eyelid about it.”

Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Anderson said the Conservative election strategy is “just not for me”.

He said he got the “sense that they can’t win on economics because things are very difficult economically, but they might think that they can get closer by running a continued culture war and that is not my politics.”

Speaking about the row over trans rights, Mr Anderson continued: “But I think the way we do this is not by kind of portraying Trumpian messages, we bring people together by trying to talk, by trying to have a conversation.

“And, you know, I look at some of the messages that the Conservatives have been using on on Twitter, in terms of the conversation in Scotland, and they do remind me of what the rights and some of the kind of cultural war warriors are trying to use in America.

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“It’s not my politics. I’ve had enough.”

A row broke out over trans rights last month, after the Scottish parliament passed a law enabling trans people to more easily change their legal gender.

The UK Government blocked the legislation, saying it would interfere with the UK Equality Act.

Mr Sunak’s party has also faced criticism for failing to present a coherent growth strategy after Mr Hunt increased taxes and slashed public spending in his last budget.

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