Election 2019

General election 2019: Broxtowe Tory candidate defends food bank comments

Darren Henry Image copyright Conservatives
Image caption Darren Henry said some of his words were taken out of context

A Conservative candidate who was filmed saying food bank users could take out payday loans has said some of his words were taken out of context.

Darren Henry made the comments at a hustings in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire.

A clip shared online ends before he added that he wanted adverts for such loans to be banned.

But he also suggested users struggled to manage budgets and should be taught to understand money. He has admitted that parts of his response were "poor".

The video has had 1.5m views on social media and has prompted people to call him "out of touch".

The recording shows Mr Henry telling the audience: "When [users] go down to the food bank, what they struggle with is maybe being able to manage their budget.

"When people are really, really down, and when people haven't got the money, one of the things they can look to do is to get a payday loan or something like that."

After the clip ends, he adds: "If I'm in Parliament... one of the things I'd like to do is to try and stop payday loan advertising, because that just makes the whole problem worse."

Image copyright Harry Paterson
Image caption As Mr Henry made the comment, other candidates appeared to be shocked

He has since told the BBC: "I recognise and want to see more being done to help people out of poverty.

"Whilst I perhaps answered the first part of the question poorly, the edited clip does not include my comments on the need to ban advertising of payday loans."

Analysis: Tony Roe, BBC East Midlands political editor

Four million watched the leaders' debate on BBC One on Friday night. At the same time, 30 seconds of phone footage from a church in Beeston in Nottinghamshire was filmed of a Conservative candidate.

His comments on food banks and payday loans have so far been watched 1.5m times on Twitter alone.

At that moment other candidates have their hands on their faces, unable to look. There are loud groans and cries of "shame" and "disgraceful". At that point the viral clip stops.

Switch to another clip, filmed from a phone on the other side of the room where the candidate's supporters sit.

The awkward attempt to clarify a point the candidate was trying to get to has been seen only 650 times. And that is being used against him, too, by opponents.

Social media can be powerful in helping to reinforce opinions. And the aim of those who spread tweets and clips is to change minds. But with so few words to play with and so little time to hold people's attention, it's never the full story.

Nigel Adams, who manages a network of 15 food banks around the city, said the reasons people came to their food banks were "complex", and [society was] "not going to fix it with budgeting classes".

He said: "People who are needing food banks just don't have the money to budget with. They need more help than being told to go and budget better.

"My overall reaction is here is someone who needs to spend more time understanding what the real issues are."

You can find a list of all the candidates in the constituency here.

Related Topics

More on this story