MP defends 'broad point' behind 'immature' remark on jobless being sterilised
A Tory MP has defended the "broad point" behind his suggestion that benefits claimants should have vasectomies by saying working people find it frustrating when a minority "take advantage" of the welfare system.
Ben Bradley, who was promoted in Theresa May's recent reshuffle, apologised for the language he used when he said people on welfare should stop having children if they could not afford them, before suggesting sterilisation.
The Mansfield MP, 28, was writing in support of the benefits cap and suggested it would not be long "before we're drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters".
Mr Bradley, who posted the blog when he was 21 years old in 2012, apologised for his "immature" language and said he may have been deliberately provocative as he was an aspiring journalist.
But in a Facebook video message, he went on: "The broad issue that I was trying to address was that there are a lot of people, particularly in places like Mansfield, who work very hard and have to make very difficult decisions financially about whether they can afford to have kids.
"And I found that people find it frustrating when a very small minority of people appear to take advantage of the benefit system.
"Now we have the benefits cap and we have a two-child limit on child benefit and hopefully those things can't happen anymore.
"But language aside that was the broad point I was trying to make and I still stand by that."
After the post on the personal blog, consbradders32, was highlighted by BuzzFeed News, it was deleted.
"Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can't afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free," it 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!"
The Conservative vice chairman for youth was given a reprieve by Downing Street last week and will hang on to his job after apologising.
In his video message, Mr Bradley admitted he "cocked up" but said there needs to be a conversation about whether younger people may be put off from entering politics if they are judged on past online comments.
"I do think on a slight aside that going forward there needs to be this discussion about how we deal with this kind of stuff," he said.
"I've just been given this job trying to get more young people to engage in politics but I'm from a generation that has grown up online, and clearly has made mistakes online.
"And they don't go away, they can't really be deleted, the truth is normal people make mistakes and more and more I think as my generation and younger get involved in politics, I think we will see this more and more.
"On the one hand people say politicians aren't like me, they're not normal people, but normal people cock things up, and my generation and younger, chances are they've cocked it up, I've cocked it up, online for all to see."