Tories pushed to deselect Putney candidate who compared Sadiq Khan to the Luftwaffe

Tories pushed to deselect Putney candidate who compared Sadiq Khan to the Luftwaffe

The Tories have been urged to consider deselecting a London candidate for calling Sadiq Khan a “snivelling little drip” who has done “more to destroy London than the Luftwaffe.”

Lee Roberts, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Putney, apologised on Monday for the comments, where he compared the London Mayor to the German air force that bombed London during the Second World War.

Labour’s Putney candidate Fleur Anderson, who is fighting to retain the seat, called on the Conservatives to consider dropping Mr Roberts as their candidate.

“These comments were very offensive,” Anderson said, “I do want to know if Wandsworth Conservatives and the broader party are still supporting him. I think they should consider deselecting him.”

Mr Roberts was recorded making the comments at a fundraising dinner where Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was the guest speaker. The Evening Standard understands that Mr Hunt was not present when the remarks were made.

He can be heard saying: “we’re gonna drive that snivelling little drip out of County [City] Hall because boy does London deserve better than that man, absolutely. The man who’s done more to destroy London than the Luftwaffe.

“No one since the Luftwaffe’s done more damage to London,” he added, “we need him out, big time.”

The recording was made at a drinks reception and fundraiser hosted by Wandsworth Conservatives in September 2023. Less than a year later Mr Khan resoundingly beat Tory candidate Susan Hall in the London mayoral election.

On Monday, after the recording had come to light, Mr Roberts said: “I would like to apologise for my comments. They were not intended to give any offence."

Later, he told The Standard: “The way I phrased my remarks about Sadiq Khan was clumsy and crass and that was why I apologised.

“However, I do not regret the sentiment. Sadiq Khan has been a disaster for Putney and London as a whole.”

Putney was the only constituency in the country gained by Labour at the 2019 election. Ms Anderson, who won the seat from the Conservative minister Justine Greening, said: “These shocking comments highlight the rise of people with deeply troubling views Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party. The fact no action was taken is utterly damning.”

Now that the nomination deadline for the general election has passed, candidates cannot be deselected by parties but they can be deprived of official backing.