Labour demands Tories drop candidate who said people on Benefits Street should be 'put down'

Posted On: 
4th November 2019

Labour has demanded the Tories drop one of their general election candidates after she called for people who featured on Benefits Street to be "put down".

Ms O'Brien has apologised for the remarks posted in 2014
Credit: 
PA

Francesca O'Brien, who is standing in the marginal seat of Gower, posted a series of inflammatory remarks about welfare claimants appearing on the hit Channel 4 show.

Posting on Facebook in 2014, the Tory hopeful said: "Benefit Street... anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!"

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Replying to a comment from a friend she added: "My blood is boiling, these people need putting down."

And she went on to like a comment from a friend which talked about taking "batts to the street" for "twat a tramp Tuesday".

Ms O'Brien, who was chosen by the party last month to contest the Welsh seat, apologised on Sunday for her "off the cuff" remarks which have now been deleted.

On Radio Four's Today programme, Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said the comments were "clearly wrong" but appeared to defend her position as the Conservative candidate.

She said: "I think it's a matter for the people of Gower on whether they her want to be their next MP, and they will have that choice next month."

But Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said Boris Johnson must ditch Ms O'Brien ahead of the election on 12 December.

“Removing a candidate who used such vile language about people on benefits should be a no brainer," he said.

“The cuts to benefits and Universal Credit programme that Thérèse Coffey and her party are responsible for have forced people into poverty.

“It is shameful that Boris Johnson is allowing Francesca O’Brien to stand for his party in Gower. This reveals the Conservatives’ contempt for the less well off.”

Responding to the posts, which were revealed by The Guardian, Ms O'Brien said: "These comments were made off the cuff, a number of years ago.

"However, I accept that my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused."