Ben Bradley ...
But cometh the hour, cometh the obnoxious creep: Ben Bradley, pride of the “Red Wall”, who represents Mansfield, has done just that. Worse, this morning he was still digging, in an interview on BBC Breakfast. Just to add some spice, Ms Rayner set the ball rolling. And, of course, poor Ben is the victim here. Except he isn’t.
... who didn't really accuse some of his voters of doing this, honestly
In a Twitter exchange which he has now deleted, Bradley had claimed “At one school in Mansfield 75% of kids have a social worker, 25% of parents are illiterate. The 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 [Free School Meals] doesn’t reach these kids”.
When one Tweeter mused “£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel really sounds like the way forward with this one”, Bradley replied “That’s what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did”. Cue Ms Rayner. “A Conservative MP has said that free school meals are effectively a direct payment to brothels and drug dealers. Notwithstanding the fact that the vouchers in summer could only be used to purchase food, this stigmatisation of working class families is disgraceful and disgusting”. Bradley realised he was in deep shit.
But he was already too late. “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 … Pretty clear that I'm about to get hammered across social media/papers for the crime of a tweet where the context wasn't as clear as I'd thought it was. Needless to say, I haven't said what I'm being accused of, nor would I ever. I'm sorry if others get dragged in to the fire”. Looks like he did say it.
Plenty of Tweeters reminded him of what he did say, which was very adjacent to what Ms Rayner said he said. And his faux pas was not his first of the day: earlier he had tried it on with Marcus Rashford. "Hi [Marcus] - no reply to this yet so far as I can see. You were very quick to reply to previous tweets... Would love to invite you to Oak Tree, to discuss the needs of the kids face to face, and why FSM is not the right approach. Drop me an email?”
Sadly, er, you guessed it. “Unfortunately for you I am a governor at that very school. I have just spoken to the head and I can assure you that our view is very much that the kids need FSM. I ask you to correct this and not give false impressions of a school who fight tooth and nail for their kids … Can I ask people to retweet this. I will not have our school used like this. He is completely wrong to give this impression”. And there was more.
A local primary school’s Facebook page was going after him, telling “this stigmatisation of working class families is truly shocking”. Evolve Politics watched the action unfold: “Ben Bradley is literally mouthing off at a local Primary School on Facebook now”. And he was still trying to blame Angela Rayner for what he had said.
Maybe Bradley will see his majority diminish next time round. I’ll just leave that one there.
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