Tory hopeful caught 'blatantly' staging door-knock interview with friend in fake news scandal
PUBLISHED: 12:32 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:32 25 November 2019
A Conservative candidate has been caught on video setting up a fake interview with a friend who was made to appear as a genuine constituent.
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Lee Anderson, who is running for the Tories in the key marginal seat of Ashfield, was caught on video phoning a friend and saying: "I'm knocking at your door in a minute. You know I'm the candidate but I'm not a friend, alright? I'll see you in a minute."
Anderson was walking around Ashfield with Mail+ journalist Michael Crick, when he was caught conspiring the interview with a friend.
Last week Anderson caused controversy by claiming that "problem tenants" should be forced to live in tents in a field, work picking potatoes, and shower in cold water.
While showing Crick around Ashfield, Anderson speaks with one constituent who tells him she is ashamed to have him running for the Conservatives. Later, when apparently canvassing, Anderson meets a constituent called Steve who he admits that he recognises.
Steve tells Anderson: "I will be going with you. There is no way Labour will ever get my vote."
READ MORE: Tory candidate says he will force 'nuisance tenants' into tents and make them work
"I watched that video [of Anderson calling for 'problem tenants' to live in tents]. I think it was a bit soft to be honest, I would use a cat of nine tails, and make them wear a pink tutu - that should stop them," he said.
While Anderson says he cannot condone these comments, Crick tells the Tory hopeful the interview felt staged.
Later, when reviewing footage, a Daily Mail producer realised they had video and audio of Anderson speaking to the 'constituent' on the phone, arranging the door-knock and the comments.
Speaking to Steve, Anderson said: "Make out you don't know who I am - you know I'm the candidate but I'm not a friend, alright?
"I'm in the staff carpark have a quick look. I'll see you in a minute."
Crick was told the call was about campaign materials, but says "this is the first time we've caught some candidate blatantly in the act" of staging an interview.
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