A top Tory businessman and LGBT+ champion has quit the Conservative party after almost two decades over the alleged ‘f*** business’ attitude and response to culture war issues.
Iain Anderson, founder of PR firm Cicero and chairman of LGBT+ charity Stonewall, has abandoned his longstanding party membership and vowed to support Keir Starmer’s Labour Party at the next election.
Speaking on Twitter, former LGBT+ business champion Anderson said his decision was “to restore trust in government – bring inward investment – and end the culture wars”.
Anderson took up the public facing role in Boris Johnson’s government in September 2021, but quit last year after becoming disillusioned over the approach to transgender issues.
The friend of ex-PM Liz Truss and senior Tory Michael Gove told the Financial Times (FT) that after 39 years: “It’s not the party it used to be – I can’t defend it.”
Remarking on Johnson’s infamous ‘f*** business’ comment over Brexit, Anderson, who recently met with Sir Keir, said: “The first thing is the party’s relationship with business.
“I’ve tried to understand why a Conservative leader could say that and nobody in the party blinked an eyelid about it.”
It comes as businesses have grown increasingly unhappy with the government, particularly over the apparent lack of a robust growth plan, amid the economic impact of Brexit.
While top Labour figures have cultivated commerce, with Starmer attending the Davos summit, and hosting regular events with City figures.
CBI boss Tony Danker warned last month that “denial” of the UK’s economic reality compared to international rivals risked leaving “growth prospects faltering this decade”.