The MP appointed by Theresa May to improve the Conservatives' appeal to young voters wrote a blog post claiming the UK would drown "in a vast sea of unemployed wasters" if people on benefits had too many children.
Ben Bradley, who was appointed the vice chair for youth last week, used a 2012 blog post to support the controversial benefit cap introduced by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition.
“Vasectomies are free,” Bradley wrote on his personal blog, consbradders32, in a post arguing that welfare cuts were vital to preserving British culture.
“Families who have never worked a day in their lives having 4 or 5 kids and the rest of us having 1 or 2 means it's not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!” Bradley continued. “Iain Duncan Smith’s cap proposal is spot on!”
When approached by BuzzFeed News about the post on Tuesday, Bradley deleted his blog and provided an apology through Conservative headquarters.
"I apologise for these posts," Bradley said in the emailed statement. "My time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate."
Bradley, 28, hailed as a raising star within the party, was appointed the Conservatives’ vice chair for youth this month when May reshuffled her ministers. He was elected to parliament in 2017 and became the first Conservative since 1885 to win in the former mining town of Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.
He is one of several young MPs given vice chair roles at Conservative headquarters as part of a drive to broaden the Tories' appeal among voters under 40.
Speaking to the BBC after his appointment this month, Bradley said it was a “huge challenge” to make the party more appealing to the young. “We really struggle to sell what we are trying to achieve,” he told the BBC’s Newsbeat.
Before becoming an MP, Bradley, from Derbyshire, was involved in Conservative politics as an activist and councillor. He holds an arts degree from the University of Nottingham and previously worked as an office manager, recruiter, and landscape gardener.
He also wrote about politics on his own blog and for a now-defunct right-wing political site called Politics on Toast.
Bradley's personal blog, consbradders32, had not been updated for several years but was still live until Tuesday afternoon, not long after BuzzFeed News contacted Bradley's office.
The now-deleted welfare post was headlined “Give us the benefits ‘cap’ — before we all drown!” and tagged with keywords including “chavs” and “wasters”.
It was an enthusiastic endorsement of the coalition’s proposal to cap the benefits that households could claim at £26,000 a year, or £500 a week.
Polls at the time suggested the benefit cap — since reduced to £23,000 for those in London and £20,000 for those outside — was widely popular with the general public, although critics said it would force some families into poverty and homelessness.
You can read Bradley's post in full here:
No sector of the government spends more of taxpayers money than the Department of Work and Pensions, and as the House of Lords debates the proposed changes to the Welfare Programme it’s important to make it clear that cuts are necessary and vital to not only our economy but to British Culture; benefits must become ‘a hand up, not a hand out’.
In terms of unemployment benefit the best proposal I’ve heard in a long time is the idea of an ‘allowance cap’ for families, so that total benefits would be limited to around £500 per week for families with children. It’s horrendous that there are families out there that can make vastly more than the average wage, (or in some cases more than a bloody good wage) just because they have 10 kids. Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free.
There are hundreds of families in the UK who earn over £60,000 in benefits without lifting a finger because they have so many kids (and for the rest of us that’s a wage of over £90,000 before tax!) Take the example of the Smiths (actual name, not a cover story), who earn around £95 grand a year for their 10 kids under 15 years old, live for free in a council house and even have their meals delivered to them. It’s a tough life when, as Mrs Smith put it "we are so hard up that we can only afford one Nintendo Wii between all the kids”. The family receive benefits totaling £44,954 a year. They also have a £950-a-week bed-and-breakfast deal where the council pays for breakfasts delivered to their home. This comes to £49,400, making a grand total of £94,354 a year. All in all around 190 families like this cost the taxpayer over £11 million a year!
People have to take responsibility for their own lives, and if they are struggling but working hard to help themselves then they should get help. But if they choose to have 10 kids they should take responsibility for that choice and look after them, not expect everyone else to foot the bill! Families who have never worked a day in their lives having 4 or 5 kids and the rest of us having 1 or 2 means its not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep! Iain Duncan Smith’s cap proposal is spot on!
Alex Spence is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Alex Spence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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