Conservative Tamworth by-election candidate apologises for social media post

The Tory candidate in the Tamworth by-election has apologised over a social media post suggesting parents who cannot feed their children should “f*** off”.

Andrew Cooper shared a photo of a flowchart asking “can you feed your kids?” on Facebook in 2020.

It featured a series of questions such as “do you pay for TV Sky/BT/etc?”, “do you have a phone contract + £30 p/m?”, “do you pay for nails/eyebrows/lips etc?” and “do you work?”

The diagram directed parents who paid for such things but could not feed their children to “f*** off”.

Speaking today, Mr Cooper said he was sorry for sharing the image but added that it is “very hard in today’s world to have an opinion and not to offend somebody”.

The Tory hopeful told Channel 5 News: “Of course, I’m sorry if I’ve offended somebody. But it’s very hard in today’s world to have an opinion and not to offend somebody.

“So there’s always going to be somebody that takes offence with things that people say.

“At the end of the day I’m somebody that has worked hard through my life to give my kids what they want and need on a day-to-day basis.”

Rishi Sunak declined to criticise Mr Cooper’s post during Prime Minister’s Questions earlier.

Labour MP Karin Smyth asked Mr Sunak if he would condemn the “foul-mouth comments about families struggling to make ends meet”.

The PM outlined Government policies aimed at supporting people during the cost-of-living crisis and said: “I’m proud of our record supporting people with the cost of living.”

But Labour MP Stephanie Peacock, who is running the party’s campaign in Tamworth, seized on Mr Cooper’s post.

She said: “A third of children in Tamworth are growing up in poverty and two thirds of them are in working families. It shows a complete lack of understanding.”

It comes as Mr Cooper is seeking to replace Chris Pincher, who quit over groping allegations, as the MP for Tamworth in one of two by-elections tomorrow.

Labour is hoping to overturn Conservative majorities in both Tamworth and Nadine Dorries’ former seat of Mid Bedfordshire.

In a statement to the Mirror, which first reported the story, Mr Cooper said he thinks “most people in Tamworth would agree that benefits are not there to pay for luxuries” and that there need to be “improved incentives to get people into work”.

He added: “That’s why I want to be the local MP in Tamworth – so I can support local families and help get more people into work.”

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