Tory MP Ben Bradley is no stranger to missteps on social media, having recently had to pay an undisclosed five-figure sum to two local charities and tweet a humiliating apology to Jeremy Corbyn after making ‘wholly untrue and false’ claims about the Labour leader.
It became – by far – the Tories’ most ‘successful’ tweet of (at least) this year, retweeted over 55,000 times, so far and rivalling even some of the US President Donald Trump’s efforts.
Bradley has also been castigated for comments about ‘splatting chavs’ and sterilising unemployed people – and had to apologise for making untrue claims about his local Labour council spending a huge sum to hire a call-centre in India.
Yesterday, Bradley provoked further outrage by tweeting a request for people to raise cash for his office team’s sponsored ‘rough sleep’:
It takes some flair to damage your image by raising money for homeless people, but Bradley’s party has just returned £817 million of unspent cash to the treasury that was earmarked to building affordable housing.
This is not a one-off. The building of government-funded social housing fell by ninety-seven percent since the Tories re-entered Downing Street in 2010.
The response was withering [language alert]:
We asked Bradley:
“You have tweeted about your staff sleeping rough to raise funds for the homeless. At the weekend, it was reported that over £800m allocated to affordable housing and related projects has been returned to the Treasury unspent. Will you be asking Phillip Hammond and his colleagues for a contribution to your sponsored rough sleeping? Any comment to make about the government’s failure to use the funds?“
A spokesperson responded:
Ben has consistently engaged with Government on the issue of rough sleeping including having Amber Rudd and then Home Office Minister Marcus Jones visit the constituency and talk directly to those delivering these services, including Framework. Ben will continue to be an advocate for improving the support that’s available and is pleased to see lots of measures coming forward from Government, both in terms of new pilot projects and the Homelessness Reduction Act. The whole team appreciate the support from the community for the charity event.
Looks like a ‘no’, then.
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