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Struggling children are ‘products of crap parents’, Tory MP claims

Bury North MP James Daly says Labour only ever ‘throw money’ at poor families

Adam Forrest
Political Correspondent
Friday 29 December 2023 18:02 GMT
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Poor families 'more resourceful' in past, says Lee Anderson

A Conservative MP has sparked outrage after saying children who struggle are the “products of crap parents”.

James Daly, the Tory MP for Bury North, was accused of “insulting” parents after the controversial remarks about families in his northern constituency.

Mr Daly stressed the importance of “stability” offered by the family unit as he outlined what the New Conservatives – a right-wing group of backbenchers – stand for.

“I think New Conservatives represent very much working-class conservatism,” the red-wall MP told the i.

“We’re not a strange right-wing sect. It’s just people who want to give people the best chance to succeed and thrive in life. When you think about the family, it’s about stability.”

Mr Daly added: “Most of the kids who struggle in Bury are the products of crap parents, and so what do we do to try to address that issue?

“On the left it would just be ‘we’ll throw money at this and hope something sticks’, somebody like me thinks about this more fundamentally.”

Miriam Cates and Danny Kruger, with MPs in the New Conservatives group, leaving No 10 (PA)

James Frith, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Bury North, said the comments were “insulting”.

The challenger, looking to overturn a majority of just 105, said: “It is revealing to see how little James Daly thinks of his own constituents. Rather than insulting the parenting skills of people in Bury, he should look closer to home.

“Over the last 13 years, the Conservatives have failed to grow our economy, protect our public services or provide opportunities for young people in Bury and across the UK.”

The New Conservatives – chaired by Danny Kruger and Miriam Cates – have become one of the most influential groups on the Tory right.

Believed to have the support of around 20 to 30 MPs from the 2017 and 2019 intake, they have pushed Rishi Sunak to crack down on net migration levels and introduce an even tougher version of his Rwanda deportation plan.

The New Conservatives have also pushed a so-called “family values” message, with Ms Cates urging the government to use the tax and benefit system to encourage mothers to stay at home.

The row comes as red-wall Tory MPs urge Mr Sunak to bring in tax cuts for people on lower incomes – rather than cut inheritance tax for the wealthiest – at next year’s March Budget.

The PM and chancellor Jeremy Hunt are considering scrapping inheritance tax as they scramble to appeal to voters ahead of the 2024 general election.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt under pressure to help low-paid at Budget (Getty Images)

John Stevenson, chair of the Northern Research Group, said the PM and his chancellor should focus on cutting taxes on income or raising tax thresholds.

“We should concentrate on incomes and thresholds rather than inheritance tax. That produces more benefit for a greater number of people,” the senior backbencher told the Daily Mail.

Former minister Neil O’Brien, the Tory MP for Harborough in Leicestershire, told the i that the government “should prioritise paying people in social care more to end low-wage immigration” and offer “tax cuts for those at the bottom end to help with the cost of living, and tax cuts that boost productivity”.

However, many senior Tories are keen to act on inheritance tax. Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg said inheritance tax was “a pernicious and bad tax, which ought to be scrapped”.

Former leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told The Telegraph: “I would scrap it altogether. The political impact would be enormous.”

And Ranil Jayawardena, chair of Liz Truss’ group of allies, the Conservative Growth Group, said: “Time is running out and the government needs to be bold: it’s time to scrap inheritance tax.”

Meanwhile, Kemi Badenoch has emerged as the Tory grassroots’ favourite minister of 2023 – putting her in pole position to succeed Mr Sunak

The business secretary pipped fellow right-winger Suella Braverman in the end-of-year Conservative Home poll of party supporters.

Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt was in third place in the survey, as top Tories jostle for position ahead of an expected election defeat next year.

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