Ben Bradley: I cocked up over blog posts about jobless
A Conservative MP who has faced criticism over a 2012 blog post suggesting vasectomies for benefit claimants says he “cocked up”.
Ben Bradley, who also wrote about a “vast sea of unemployed wasters”, said he couldn’t “unsay” the remarks.
But he called for a debate about how young people’s online “mistakes” are handled when they enter politics in later life.
The 28-year-old Mansfield MP is the Tory vice-chairman for youth.
The blog, which was backing the benefits cap being proposed by the government at the time, surfaced last week.
“Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free,” the post read.
“Families who have never worked a day in their lives having four or five kids and the rest of us having one or two means it’s not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!”
He was attacked by rival parties for the “repulsive” comments.
In a video message on his Facebook page, Mr Bradley said it had been a “pretty chaotic week”, and repeated his apology, saying he had written the remarks as a 21-year-old student “with no real responsibilities”.
He had used “immature” language and wanted to be a journalist so was being “deliberately provocative”, he said, but stood by the “broad point” he had been making.
This was that people work hard and face “difficult decisions” about whether to have children, he said, adding: “People find it frustrating when a small minority of people appear to take advantage of the benefits system.”
Calling for a “discussion about how we deal with this kind of stuff”, he said: “I’m from a generation that has grown up online and clearly has made mistakes online.
“They don’t go away, they can’t really be deleted. The truth is normal people make mistakes - and more and more, as my generation and younger get involved in politics I think you’ll see this more and more.
“On the one hand people say you know, ‘Politicians aren’t like me, they’re not normal people.’ But normal people cock things up.
“My generation and younger… chances are they’ve cocked it up. I’ve cocked it up online for all to see.”
He said he had received death threats and had journalists turn up at his grandparents’ house, adding that if this becomes normal, “I don’t know how I can go out there and tell young people that it’s a good thing to enter public life”.
Source: BBC Politics