A Tory MP says Wetherspoons should be used as a barometer for the UK’s prosperity – saying we’ll only be in crisis when the pubs are empty.
Speaking in Birmingham, Lee Anderson criticised the UK’s “generous” benefits system and doubled down on his claim that people could cook meals from scratch for just 30p a day.
He also set his sights on “do gooders” who run food banks and lashed out at parents whose kids go hungry.
The 55-year-old told youngsters at the event: “Go in any Wetherspoons, that’s the barometer of how this country is doing, when Wetherspoons is empty we’ve got a big problem.”
He then accused the media of fearmongering, telling the audience: “Whenever we put the TV on people are telling us how poor we are.”
Mr Anderson defended controversial remarks he made in the House of Commons about food banks in May – when he claimed people could “cook meals from scratch” for “30p a day” instead.
He said: “I’ve got a big bee in my bonnet about food poverty. I’m a big believer that we do need food banks, but not to the degree we’ve got them.
“Every do gooder is starting these little projects to make themselves feel good.”
He told the gathering he had worked with a local chef in his Ashfield constituency to make 172 meals after spending £50 in a supermarket.
“’30p Lee’ they named me,” he said. “That stuck but in a good sort of way, it got people talking about food poverty.”
He claimed that young people are missing out on basic budgeting, telling the crowd: “If I got home economics bought back I’d be a very happy man.”
Anderson claimed that children go hungry due to the failings of their parents, telling young Conservatives: “I’ll take no lectures from the left. How can we have food poverty when we’ve got an obesity crisis?”
The MP said: “We’re in a world where the only input they have is having the children, as soon as they’re born they’re someone else’s responsibility…
“Unfortunately we’ve got some parents who just don’t look after their children, I’m not ashamed to say that.”