Mansfield MP Ben Bradley tweeted his opposition to Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign, which he voted against this week
Mansfield MP Ben Bradley tweeted his opposition to Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign, which he voted against this week.
Bradley has sparked fury on Twitter after apparently suggesting that vouchers given to feed school children over the summer holidays “effectively” handed cash directly to “crack dens and brothels”.
Ben Bradley, who represents the constituency of Mansfield, reportedly made the comments after posting about how Labour’s free school meals motion wouldn’t have helped those most in need.
The MP tweeted a thread which began: “At one school in #Mansfield 75% of kids have a social worker, 25% of parents are illiterate. Their estate is the centre of the area’s crime. One kid lives in a crack den, another in a brothel.
But Mr Bradley has since deleted his tweets and claims “I absolutely did not say what is being reported, nor is that even close to what the context of the thread was about.”
He said he was speaking about two specific children he knows of who live in an environment surrounded by drugs and crime – and did not make any broad brush statements or criticisms of parents who need free school meals.
Adding insult to injury the MP says he was actually making a case for more help – that these kids need more than food.
In a series of tweets earlier on Friday evening, Ben Bradley said: “At one school in #Mansfield 75% of kids have a social worker, 25% of parents are illiterate. Their estate is the centre of the area’s crime.
“One kid lives in a crack den, another in a brothel. These are the kids that most need our help, extending #FSM doesn’t reach these kids 1/4.
“2/4 thats why I said no to extending #FSM. 100,000s of the 1.4m kids on FSM don’t need it, whilst those most in need won’t benefit from it as they need much more direct and targeted support.
“We can spend that money better to help the most vulnerable kids more effectively.
“3/4 We’ve given £bns to Councils to target these vulnerable families & kids, so that they can give out meals if thats what is best and most needed, or different help if its better…
“Nobody is ‘not helping’ but #FSM isn’t precise enough to target vulnerable kids with right help.
“There is no sense whatsoever in pretending to ourselves that just giving 1.4m kids free meals in hols fixes things.
“Many kids don’t need it, and many in genuine need won’t benefit from it due to extreme lives and problems.
“To be effective, we have to be more personal and local.”
A twitter user called Adam replied to the thread saying: “£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel really sounds like the way forward with this one…”
And in a now deleted tweet, Mr Bradley wrote: “Thats what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did…”
Ben 1.5million children have little to no access to food resources due to the 2-child UC cap.— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 21, 2020
Nobody is pointing fingers, I’m asking we work together to protect our most vulnerable children dealing with the devastating effects of the pandemic. This is nothing to do with politics https://t.co/2omi3bHr1j
In a statement to the Daily Mirror, Mr Bradley explained his comments saying: “I absolutely did not say what is being reported, nor is that even close to what the context of the thread was about. Its hugely frustrating that I will now be shot down for something I haven’t said!
Angela Rayna tweeted to the backtracking Bradly who now seems to be fearful of the just response he is getting on social media. Let’s hope the anger rides until the next election when the people of Mansfield can out the Tory from his precarious perch.
“I spoke about extreme examples of poverty in my constituency: two children I know of who live in an environment surrounded by drugs and crime.
“I said that its these children we most need to help, but that FSM does not help them.
What a disgusting attitude, my children were entitled these vouchers
One deservingly angry tweet responded saying: “What a disgusting attitude, my children were entitled these vouchers, because my husband was sick with pancreatic cancer and on ESA with a partner element…how dare he? I am furious…we were given a piece of paper with a barcode for Tesco, no money! How dare this #ToryScum“
What a disgusting attitude, my children were entitled these vouchers, because my husband was sick with pancreatic cancer and on ESA with a partner element…how dare he? I am furious..we were given a piece of paper with a barcode for Tesco, no money! How dare this #ToryScum ?— Chrissy Lady Ditty ♀️ (@ChrissysRants) October 24, 2020
Ben Bradley’s bitter resentment of the working class is catalogued in his blog and Twitter account.
Ben Bradley is not new to controversy, he caused outrage after comments he made saying unemployed people should get vasectomies were unearthed, also published a series of offensive opinions about public sector workers.
Bradley was forced to apologise after a blogpost in which he advised the unemployed to get vasectomies was unearthed.
The Mansfield MP is chair of the Blue Collar Conservatives, a group of Tory MPs who claim to identify as working class.
Bradley attended Derby Grammar School. A private institution which currently charges up to £14,233 per student per year.
Angela. Please remove this clickbait nonsense. If the context is not clear, I will clarify, but thats 100% NOT what I’ve said. Please don’t drag this debate in to the gutter. What you’ve put here is NOT TRUE. https://t.co/d96A9CiWvM— Ben Bradley MP (@BBradley_Mans) October 23, 2020
He came under fire for suggesting that benefit claimants should have vasectomies to prevent them having more children.
In a 2012 blog post, the now-MP wrote: “Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free.
“Families who have never worked a day in their lives having four or five kids and the rest of us having one or two means it’s not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!”