Shaun Bailey under fire for 'unacceptable' remarks on teenage mothers

Tory candidate for London mayor suggested in 2010 that young mothers push people who ‘do right thing’ down housing ladder

The Conservative candidate for London mayor, Shaun Bailey, has been criticised for newly emerged comments in which he suggested teenage mothers pushed people who “do the right thing” down the housing ladder.

Bailey has previously been condemned for comments about teenage pregnancies, suggesting that distributing condoms encouraged girls to get pregnant.

Labour said the newly unearthed comments, made to the Sun in 2010, were “completely unacceptable” and “reek of misogyny”.

Bailey, who is trailing Labour’s Sadiq Khan in the polls ahead of the May elections, told the Sun that teenage pregnancy was disadvantaging other housing claimants. The article no longer appears online but has been archived.

“Teenage girls might not get pregnant just to get a flat, but they are a lot less careful because they know they will be looked after on benefits. So people who are trying to do the right thing get pushed down the housing ladder, but nobody in our PC world will talk about it,” he told the newspaper when he was the Tory general election candidate for Hammersmith in west London.

The shadow minister for mental health, Rosena Allin-Khan, said: “Shaun Bailey’s views about women reek of misogyny and are completely unacceptable in 21st-century London. He simply has the wrong values for London.

“Not only does he peddle Trump-like fake news and attack Londoners’ values on diversity, but he has a history of repeatedly promoting his deeply misogynistic views.”

A Bailey campaign spokesperson said: “It might be good politics to misrepresent comments made over a decade ago, but it won’t help Londoners secure safer streets, more affordable homes or a better transport network. If Sadiq Khan and Labour choose to run a campaign based on personal attacks rather than their record in London, people will draw their own conclusions as to why that is.”

The Conservative candidate has made a series of controversial comments during the campaign, including suggesting that homeless Londoners could save up a £5,000 deposit for a mortgage. Labour has also called for the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate Bailey’s publication of leaflets headed with fake City Hall insignia, calling it a “fraudulent device” to gain undue influence, as described by the 1983 Representation of the People Act.

He also made remarks in a 2008 Guardian interview in which he expressed concern that terminations were being used flippantly by underage girls and said the limit should be reduced to 22 weeks. “Our children are using abortion as contraceptive – this is the real problem,” Bailey said in the interview, given when he was running as the Conservative candidate for Hammersmith.

He has been dogged by news stories detailing previous comments about teen pregnancy, single mothers and welfare, including from 2005, when he said “a culture of dependency rules the working-class” and “this liberal agenda hasn’t benefited the working class. The working class look to rules. The rules are important to them. Take away the rules and they are left in limbo.”


Jessica Elgot

The GuardianTramp

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