Tory candidate faces criticism over explicit food bank post telling parents to ‘f*** off’

Tory candidate faces criticism over explicit food bank post telling parents to ‘f*** off’
Sunak refuses to condemn Tory candidate who told food bank users to …

A Conservative byelection candidate has got himself in a spot of bother after a Facebook post he shared telling jobless parents who cannot feed their children to “f*** off” if they still pay a £30 phone bill was unearthed.

Andrew Cooper, who is seeking to replace the former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher as MP for Tamworth in one of two byelections on Thursday, reportedly shared a photo of a flowchart on social media in 2020 that indicated people should only seek help if they are employed and give up their TV and mobile phone contracts, the Mirror reported.

The post asked the question: “Can you feed your kids?” The diagram suggests those who are out of work, pay for “TV Sky/BT/ETC” or “have a phone contract + £30” should “f*** off” rather than seek help.

A screenshot of the post was later shared on the local Facebook page Spotted Tamworth alongside an anonymous message reading: “Lovely potential MP!! Wants to starve the children!! He won’t get my vote! Absolute cretin!”

It then circulated on social media where people were outraged:

In a statement responding, Cooper told the Mirror: “I think most people in Tamworth would agree that benefits are not there to pay for luxuries. There are too many people on out-of-work benefits and there needs to be improved incentives to get people into work.

“Both the prime minister and chancellor have spoken about the need to get people off welfare and into jobs. That’s why I want to be the local MP in Tamworth – so I can support local families and help get more people into work.”

In Tamworth, 19.5 per cent of children lived in relative poverty as of 2021-22, according to the latest constituency data.

Nevertheless, Conservative minister Andrew Griffith praised Cooper as a “fantastic” candidate on Wednesday morning but said MP hopefuls should be “absolutely empathetic”.

The economic secretary to the Treasury told Times Radio: “Everyone should choose their language wisely, not least of which on social media. But what you look for in a candidate is someone who is local, someone who is going to work hard and somebody who is absolutely empathetic and represents their local constituents to the best.”

Labour MP Stephanie Peacock, who is leading the party’s byelection campaign in Tamworth, said: “The Tories have overseen 13 years of next to no growth, before crashing the economy. The result is a third of children in Tamworth are growing up in poverty and two-thirds of them are in working families.

“It shows a complete lack of understanding of the challenges facing families in Tamworth that the Conservative candidate is telling parents who are struggling to make ends meet to ‘f**k off’.”


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