The Labour Party has described Thérèse Coffey, the current Department for Work and Pensions Secretary, as “not fit” for her ministerial role.
The criticism follows an interview in which the Secretary of State responsible for the benefits system defended a Tory candidate who said people on the TV programme Benefits Street needed “putting down”.
Francesca O’Brien, the Tory candidate in Gower, made comments on social media in 2014 about those appearing on the Channel 4 documentary. She wrote: “Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!”
In another comment responding to a friend, now deleted, she posted: “My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.” She also liked posts that endorsed violence towards “tramps”.
When LBC’s Nick Ferrari asked Coffey this morning why the candidate was still representing the Conservative Party, the minister replied that “it’s up to the voters in Gower who they want to be her MP” .
Asked whether she would personally vote for the candidate in question, Coffey said: “In the next election? Yes, I absolutely would.”
Laura Pidcock, Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights, commented: “Thérèse Coffey is not fit to be DWP Secretary and the Conservative candidate for Gower is not fit to be an MP.
“It is shocking that the Conservatives’ benefits chief has endorsed someone who would talk about people on social security in such a disgusting way. This is the person in charge of the roll-out of Universal Credit.
“The Tories’ cruel benefits regime has pushed families and children into poverty. And it is no wonder, when Boris Johnson’s party has such contempt for the less well off.”