A Conservative MP has claimed most children who struggle in his constituency are the “products of crap parents”.
James Daly, the MP for Bury North, was outlining what the New Conservatives group of MPs stood for when he presented his perspective on how important a family unit is in giving children “stability”.
In his original interview with the i newspaper, Daly said: “I think New Conservatives represent very much working-class conservatism. We’re not a strange rightwing 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. 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.”
Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, the MP defended his comments, insisting “whichever party comes into power” after the next general election should open up a discussion on “finding ways to give kids a chance to have the best options in their lives if they’ve had inadequate parenting or problems for whatever reason”.
He added that he wanted children to be able to choose their paths in life and that required parents to teach them the fundamentals that would help shape their character. “In my view this debate shouldn’t just be about money, money, money,” he said.
It is not the first time Daly has blamed bad parenting. At the Conservative party conference this year, the MP of the 2019 intake told an event, “we have appalling parents bringing children up in appalling ways”, adding “there are no excuses … I blame parents”.
Daly is a member of the rightwing caucus which has become one of the most vocal groupings, predominantly made up of “red wall” 2019 and 2017 intake Tory MPs, who have intervened repeatedly on immigration issues.
Reflecting on knife crime in London at Tory conference Daly said it is “directly related to social choice and decisions, the lack of paternal influence in the family home, that is something parents have chosen to do and it impacts the behaviour of children”.
“In my view, if you are a young person, a first-time offender, put before a court, you’ve made that choice, you should accept responsibility and your parents should accept responsibility for putting you in a position for that to happen. Because if not, we will continue to make excuses and look for reasons, we will pour money down black holes to try and solve a problem that is very clear,” he added.
He has since been criticised for his comments. James Frith, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Bury North, where Daly’s majority is a slender 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.”
Christian Wakeford, the Labour MP for Bury South and a former colleague of Daly’s, urged locals to remember the comments when deciding which party to back at the next general election.
Wakeford said: “This is what the current member for Bury North thinks of his constituents in the town it is an honour to represent. Make sure he remembers this next year when you go in that voting booth.”