'Nuisance' council tenants 'should live in tents' says Ashfield Tory candidate

Image source, Ashfield and Mansfield Conservatives
Image caption,
Ashfield candidate Lee Anderson said "nuisance" council tenants should be put "in a tent in the middle of a field"

"Nuisance" council tenants should be forced to live in tents and pick vegetables, a Conservative parliamentary candidate has said.

Lee Anderson, who is contesting the marginal Nottinghamshire seat of Ashfield, posted the comments on a video on his Facebook page.

The Labour Party said the idea amounted to "forced labour camps" and went "beyond the pale".

Mr Anderson declined to comment when approached by the BBC.

In the 53-second clip Mr Anderson said the statement was his "own personal opinion".

'Live in field'

During the video he said certain "nuisance tenants" on the Carsic estate were "making people's lives a complete misery".

He then said: "These people, who have to live somewhere, let's have them in a tent, in the middle of a field.

"Six o'clock every morning, let's have them up.

"Let's have them in the field, picking potatoes or any other seasonal vegetables, back in the tent, cold shower, lights out, six o'clock, same again the next day."

The BBC is seeking comments from Carsic tenants' groups.

Mr Anderson is hoping to win the marginal seat from Labour, who won Ashfield by a majority of only 441.

The seat was previously held by Labour's Gloria de Piero.

The East Midlands Labour Party said it accepted that anti-social behaviour needed to be tackled, but said: "The Ashfield Tory plan of forced labour camps is beyond the pale, and shows the nasty party rearing its head once again."

Jason Zadrozny, who is leader of Ashfield District Council and is the Ashfield Independents candidate, said Mr Anderson had been on the council for many years and "could have changed tenancy policy" if he wanted.

"Lee Anderson is desperate for a headline and this is dog-whistle politics," he said.

Ashfield Liberal Democrat candidate Rebecca Wain said: "Housing is a human right and if the Conservative candidate doesn't recognise this then they are unfit to be in public office."

Former miner Mr Anderson - who had been a Labour activist - wrote an article for the Mail Online on Tuesday claiming he was hounded out of the party by Momentum, the grassroots movement that supports Jeremy Corbyn.

The Conservative Party has been approached for comment.

Who is standing in Ashfield?

  • Conservatives: Lee Anderson
  • The Brexit Party: Martin Daubney
  • Labour: Natalie Fleet
  • Liberal Democrat: Rebecca Wain
  • Green: Rose Woods
  • Ashfield Independents: Jason Zadrozny

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