A legal firm said it has been instructed to pursue libel proceedings against the recently-appointed Conservative deputy chairman after he “made defamatory allegations of bribery”.
Bindmans LLP said its client, Michael Hollis, considered remarks that Lee Anderson made about a planning application submitted in his name to be defamatory.
Mr Hollis’s solicitors said the Ashfield MP had “refused to remove” the Facebook post and so had chosen to instigate the “first steps towards a libel claim against him”.
In a statement published on its website on Monday, the firm said: “On February 1, 2023, Mr Anderson made defamatory allegations of bribery against a local man, Michael Hollis, who runs a food bank charity.
“Mr Anderson claimed in a Facebook post published to his 35,000 followers that money had changed hands in brown envelopes in relation to a planning application made by Mr Hollis.
“Mr Hollis is outraged by this allegation and, after Mr Anderson refused to remove his post, has taken the first steps towards a libel claim against him.”
Mr Anderson’s social media post included a screenshot of a planning application made in Mr Hollis’s name, referring to a property in Silverhill Lane, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire.
It was listed as a valid application on December 12, 2022, with a decision due by February 6.
Mr Anderson, who has been approached for comment, was given the role of deputy to newly-appointed Tory chairman Greg Hands last week by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The politician is known for his forthright political opinions, with the former Labour councillor telling The Spectator, in an interview that took place before his Tory Party appointment but published afterwards, that he supported bringing back the death penalty.
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