Tory election candidate apologises for 'disgusting' Facebook post

Ms O'Brien has apologised for the remarks

Monday, November 4, 2019

A Conservative general election candidate has apologised for “off the cuff” comments she made in 2014, in which she suggested people on a TV show about benefits “need putting down”.

Francesca O'Brien made the comments in reference to the Channel 4 reality series Benefits Street, which followed residents of one of Britain's most deprived areas -  James Turner Street in Birmingham.

In the now-deleted Facebook post from 2014, she wrote: “Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!”.

Then, replying to a friend’s comment, she added: “My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.”

Francesca O'Brien has apologised

The Labour Party have called on Boris Johnson to remove Ms O'Brien as a candidate over the “absolutely disgusting” remarks, as have the Liberal Democrats.

However, Ms O’Brien remains as her party candidate in the South Wales constituency of Gower, and is set to challenge the seat that was won by Labour’s Tonia Antoniazzi in 2017.

In a statement, 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.”

The comments were made in 2014

But shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said Ms O’Brien was “unfit to be an MP”.

“This is absolutely disgusting and reveals the cruelty at the heart of the Tories' benefits cuts," she said.

“Universal Credit was deliberately designed to punish people who are out of work.

“Many of us have relied on social security support at some point in our lives and it is nothing to be ashamed of."

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