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Ben Bradley under fire for blogpost urging jobless people to have vasectomies

MP appointed as Conservative party vice-chair wrote article in 2012 saying unemployed people should not have large families.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Ben Bradley under fire for blogpost urging jobless people to have vasectomies” was written by Anushka Asthana and Rowena Mason, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 16th January 2018 20.35 UTC

A Conservative MP who has been appointed as a party vice-chairman once suggested that unemployed people should opt for free vasectomies rather than continuing to have children they could not afford to support.

In a blogpost, Ben Bradley claimed that the country would be soon “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters” if workless families had four or five children while others limited themselves to one or two.

Bradley, who unexpectedly defeated Labour’s Alan Meale last year to become the Tory MP for Mansfield, made the comments in 2012 in support of a government policy for a benefit cap.

The 28-year-old, who was promoted to Conservative vice-chair representing young people in Theresa May’s new year reshuffle, apologised for the inappropriate post and said he had since matured. Labour said the comments were evidence that the “nasty party” lived on.

In the blogpost revealed by BuzzFeed, Bradley said: “It’s horrendous that there are families out there that can make vastly more than the average wage, (or in some cases more than a bloody good wage) just because they have 10 kids. Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free.

“There are hundreds of families in the UK who earn over £60,000 in benefits without lifting a finger because they have so many kids (and for the rest of us that’s a wage of over £90,000 before tax!).”

The article, which has since been deleted, went on: “People have to take responsibility for their own lives, and if they are struggling but working hard to help themselves then they should get help. But if they choose to have 10 kids they should take responsibility for that choice and look after them, not expect everyone else to foot the bill!

“Families who have never worked a day in their lives having 4 or 5 kids and the rest of us having 1 or 2 means it’s not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep! Iain Duncan Smith’s cap proposal is spot on!”

The coalition government proposed introducing a £26,000 cap on the total amount of benefits that working-age people could receive in the UK in early 2012, with a limit of £500 a week for families or £350 for childless single-adult households.

The policy, which was to be introduced in 2013, was estimated to save tens of millions from the benefits budget by hitting 67,000 households in the first year, rising to 75,000 by 2014-15.

Critics warned that large families with three or more children would be badly hit, particularly if they lived in high-rent areas such as London.

Cat Smith MP, Labour’s minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, said: “These repulsive comments expose the Tories’ disgraceful attitude to unemployed people.

“That they come from a man Theresa May chose as a vice-chair of her party speaks volumes. The nasty party is alive and well.”

Bradley, who has argued for the Tories to change their brand to reach out to aspirational, younger voters said: “I apologise for these posts. My time in politics has allowed me to mature and I now realise that this language is not appropriate.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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