Mansfield MP expands on his Twitter comment to Marcus Rashford about child food poverty - and this is what local residents think

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley has now expanded on his Twitter comments to campaigning footballer Marcus Rashford about child food poverty – and his constituents have also been having their say on the issue.

Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 4:45 pm

On the back of Marcus Rashford’s #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY campaign on Twitter, Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, joined the debate, openly opposing the Manchester United and England forward’s viewpoint, calling the footballer’s desired handouts ‘freebies’.

Ben Bradley MP said on Twitter on Sunday night: “Mad world we live in where saying that parents are responsible for feeding their children is now seen as wildly offensive and controversial…

"Dare I say that a long term degradation of personal responsibility is part of the problem here? You don't fix poverty with freebies!!”

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After the Chad published an article on the tweet last night, some residents took to our Facebook page to voice their disapproval of the MP’s comment.

Ruth Woodhall said: “Who says parents are deciding not to feed their children? Do you really think you are safe from severe and unexpected illness? From your employers going bust? From a car accident in which you are blameless but badly injured? From your child or your wife or your husband suddenly developing bipolar disorder or schizophrenia? Or your two-year-old being severely autistic? Does Bradley live on Cloud 9? Merciless people are ‘tempting fate’."

And Claire Bex said: “This is true to form for him.

"He has no empathy for people who are struggling - the usual Tory rhetoric of the undeserving poor.”

Adam Tomlinson, also opposing the MP’s standpoint, added: “Those saying you shouldn't have kids unless you can afford them obviously don't realise anybody for many reasons can find themselves suffering hardship, in the current climate that's never been more true!”

Many other Facebook users criticising the tweet also mentioned topics such as food banks, MP expenses, and austerity - see the Mansfield Chad Facebook page for more.

However, on the back of this tweet receiving thousands of likes and considerable attention online, Mr Bradley later took to Facebook on Monday to expand on his comment, with many people quickly jumping to support him on the topic.

In a Facebook post on Monday night, September 7, he said: “So yesterday I said that ultimately the responsibility to look after your children is down to parents, not the Government...

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, has commented further on his tweet responding to footballer Marcus Rashford.

“Obviously we have the welfare state to support you if you fall on hard times, and it's right that we do that, but my view is that Government should put its time and resources in to solving the structural problems that lead to people not being able to support themselves rather than spending more and more on benefits and subsidies.

“As a Conservative Government we should be focused on helping people to get by without needing the state to intervene, to have as much freedom and choice about how they live as possible so that in the end the state can leave us alone!

“Some people have interpreted that as not wanting to help poor people... Needless to say that's not what I'm saying.

"I don’t disagree with Marcus Rashford that more needs to be done, I just think we should focus on the causes rather than the symptoms if we want to make a long term difference, and I don't think making people more and more dependent on the state is a good thing.

“What do you think?”

Many of the Conservative MP’s followers agreed with the updated statement.

Kelly Bagshaw said: “Yes it is. I'm sick of people in this country getting their priorities wrong and somehow being rewarded for their incompetence.

“Your kids are ALWAYS your responsibility.”

Roger Flint said: “Spot on Ben - I admire your honesty and resilience in saying what others fear to utter. Well done!”

Sarah Phillips, also agreeing, added: “Parents have the responsibility to bring up their children. To set the rules by which they live their lives. Teach them right from wrong. Do their best for them.

"That means to feed, clothe and educate them. Not everyone can do that on their own and that’s where the state aid comes in. But predominantly it is the parents responsibility.”

Ben Bradley told the Chad: “I think the recent news that Twitter thinks Corbyn is the best PM we’ve never had might suggest that it’s not exactly representative of the views of local people in Mansfield… but my page is over 65 per cent Mansfield residents and is overwhelmingly supportive of my view.

“With regards the tweet itself, obviously Twitter with its 140 characters is a very blunt instrument, and much of the negative commentary on there including from other politicians has entirely misinterpreted (often deliberately) what I meant.

"Nobody is saying we shouldn’t support people who need food.

"What I am saying is that doing so is a sticking plaster, not a solution. We need to focus on solving the issue that causes them to need food in the first place.”

Ben Bradley has previously campaigned to support working class boys in the area, as well as supporting this year’s Unicef Soccer Aid.