THE Conservative Party deputy chairman Lee Anderson has been secretly recorded claiming he was offered “a lot of money” to defect to Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party.

The Sunday Times reports that Anderson, 56, made the comments at a “Lagers with Lee” event after saying: “We’re not taping this, are we?”

However, in the recording of the event, hosted by the South Cambridgeshire Conservative Association, the Tory MP for Ashfield revealed that he had been approached to defect.

Reform UK has denied that it offered any money to Anderson to defect as he has claimed.

The party's leader, Richard Tice, said: “These are the same libellous allegations first made by [chief whip] Simon Hart MP back in February.

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“He heard from my lawyers. That case is still live to be progressed at my choosing. But I can confirm that I have had numerous discussions with a good number of Tory MPs who are fuming at their leadership.”

Anderson had told activists at the gathering: “Now there is a political party that begins with an R that offered me a lot of money to join them. I say a lot of money, I mean a lot of money.”

The event was held just a few days before the Mid Bedfordshire by-election, where Labour overturned the seat that was previously held by the Tories since 1931.

He also told the audience he “wouldn’t join them” and added: “Now, if Reform are going to make any inroads at the next General Election, they’ve got to win that seat in Mid-Beds. And they won’t.

“They will probably come third and lose their deposit. Now all they want, Reform — and I spoke to the leaders of Reform — they want PR, which is proportional representation. They are hell bent and want us to get hammered in the next election.

“Because they firmly believe that Labour will bring in PR. Now at the election after that, in five to six years’ time, whenever it is, under PR, if Reform get five to six million votes, that gives them about 40 seats in parliament.

“Now think on — that gives the Greens about 40 seats in parliament and the LibDems, dare I say it, they probably get the same. So then you’d have, you’re back to a hung parliament, you’re back to coalitions, you’re back to hung parliament where nothing gets done, ever.

“But the Labour Party won’t do that. This is what Reform wants. They don’t care about this country at all. They are mad, these people. For a party to want that to happen, they don’t care about this country. All they want is a bit of power in parliament.”

The Times also reported that Anderson (below) told Hart, the Tories' chief whip, in February that he had been offered money to join Reform UK.

The National: Lee Anderson

Hart then met with the speaker Lindsay Hoyle to inform him that senior Tory MPs were being offered £400,000-plus “bribes” to defect to Reform UK, which the party believed could be against electoral law.

The chief whip claimed the offers were based on an agreement that if MPs joined Reform UK they would be guaranteed to receive up to five years of their MP’s salary if they lost their seat after defecting.

Hoyle is now expected to ask the chief whip to pass any details the party has of the Anderson case to the police.

An official said: “The party should now pass any evidence it might have to the police which is the appropriate authority to deal with it.”

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Tice also appeared on Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg and again claimed that he had engaged in “numerous discussions” with a number of Tory MPs, ministers and former ministers.

“Let me make it absolutely clear, no cash or money has in any way been offered, what has been offered is the chance to change the shape of the debate,” he told the programme.

He also claimed: "What's really happened here is that Lee Anderson has used the threat of defecting to Reform to negotiate himself the deputy chairmanship of the Tory party because this story first appeared almost exactly the same, in the time back in February when coincidentally, he was made deputy chairman of the Tory party."

Anderson has since issued a statement responding to Tice's allegations and said: "The allegations made by Richard Tice are simply ridiculous. The facts are quite simple.

“From time to time politicians do meet other politicians from different political parties. At one such meeting I was offered the chance to join another party for the following deal - I join within a few months and stand for this Party at the next election.

"If I lost my seat I would be guaranteed a job with the party for five years on the same salary as an MP. To falsely claim that I used this as leverage to get the position of deputy chairman is an insult to me and my party.

“A year before I became deputy chairman I was touring the country speaking to members at different events and helping to raise campaign funds. I accepted the role as deputy chairman for no extra pay and my travel expenses come out of my own pocket.

"This role means me staying at least one night a week away from home on top of the 3/4 nights I stay in London. The benefit I get from being the deputy chairman is that I get to meet hundreds of members every month, as well as visiting so many different constituencies across our great country.

“I am extremely disappointed that this story has been leaked to the papers but somewhat relieved as journalists have been hounding me for over a year on this subject.

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“Mr Tice needs to look closer to home to see what his own senior members are saying and doing behind the scenes. He needs to keep better control of his party, otherwise incidents like this just make them look like amateurs, and amateurs whose only purpose seems to be giving Starmer the keys to number 10.

“I would've hoped that, instead of taking to the airways to make wild accusations, Mr Tice would speak to me directly in private to check what happened. I am very disappointed in his approach but hope that we can move on and put this behind us.”