Belfast Telegraph

Tories urged to axe Welsh candidate Francesca O'Brien for benefits jibe

The Tories are facing calls to remove a candidate in a key marginal seat who wrote on Facebook that people on reality television show Benefits Street need
The Tories are facing calls to remove a candidate in a key marginal seat who wrote on Facebook that people on reality television show Benefits Street need "putting down"

By Sam Blewett

The Tories are facing calls to remove a candidate in a key marginal seat who wrote on Facebook that people on reality television show Benefits Street need "putting down".

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Francesca O'Brien, who was selected in the South Wales constituency of Gower, apologised for the series of inflammatory remarks on social media.

Labour said Boris Johnson must remove her as a candidate over the "absolutely disgusting" and since-deleted remarks from January 2014, which were reported by The Guardian.

Of the Channel 4 programme highlighting the lives of welfare recipients, Ms O'Brien wrote: "Benefit Street..anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!"

Replying to a friend's comment, she added: "My blood is boiling, these people need putting down."

The Conservative Party did not appear to be moving to axe Ms O'Brien from the race ahead of the December 12 election.

In a statement, Ms O'Brien said: "These comments were made off the cuff, a number of years ago.

"However, I accept that my use of language was unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any upset I have caused."

Labour's Tonia Antoniazzi won the seat in 2017 with 22,727 votes, 3,269 ahead of the Conservative candidate.

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