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Tories keep candidate who said people on Benefits Street need ‘putting down’

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  • Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party refuse to sack candidate who said people on the reality TV show Benefits Street need “putting down.”
  • The Conservative candidate for Gower, Frances O’Brien, made a series of inflammatory social media posts about people featured on the programme.
  • Labour have called for her to be replaced as the candidate.
  • However, the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Monday that O’Brien would remain as the Conservative’s candidate.
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Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party have refused to sack a candidate who said that people on the reality TV show Benefits Street need “putting down.”

Francesca O’Brien, who has been selected to fight the target seat of Gower in Wales, wrote a series of inflammatory posts on Facebook in 2014 about residents on the programme, which documented people living on welfare payments.

“Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!” she wrote in posts which have since been deleted, adding that “My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.”

She went on to endorse a reply to her posts, suggesting that they should have a “twat a tramp Tuesday” and “take your batts [sic] to the streets”.

Asked whether O’Brien would be removed as the candidate, the Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey MP told the BBC on Monday that while O’Brien’s comment were “clearly wrong,” it was now a “matter for the people of Gower.”

“I recognise these comments are not ones that I would associate myself with in any way, but I think that will be a decision for the people of Gower to make a choice on who they want to be their member of parliament,” she said.

Pushed again, she replied: “I think that is a matter for the people of Gower on whether they want her to be their next MP and they will have that choice next month.”

The opposition Labour party have called for O’Brien to be replaced.

“This is absolutely disgusting and reveals the cruelty at the heart of the Tories’ benefits cuts,” the Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner said in a statement.

“Many of us have relied on social security support at some point in our lives and it is nothing to be ashamed of. This person is not fit to be an MP and Boris Johnson should remove her as a candidate.”

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