Newly-elected Tory MP claims austerity ‘didn’t go too far’

Newly-elected Tory MP Gary Sambrook appears on BBC Politics Midlands. Photograph: BBC.

Newly-elected Tory MP Gary Sambrook appears on BBC Politics Midlands. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A newly-elected Conservative MP has dismissed claims that people paid a price with the government's austerity programme.

Gary Sambrook, the new Birmingham Northfield Tory MP, was appearing on the BBC Politics Midlands programme to talk blue-collar Conservatism when he blamed Labour for the government's austerity choices.

He said: "We've come out of the other end of that, we've come out of austerity, we're moving on, we're going to invest in schools and the NHS."

But Labour MP Shabana Mahmood, a fellow MP for Birmingham, could not allow his soundbites to go unchallenged on the programme.

She asked: "Gary, can we take from that blue-collar Conservatives think austerity went too far? Would you accept that dinner ladies, van drivers, all of those people paid the price for political choices to deal with the deficit?"

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An undeterred Sambrook pointed out that the working classes had backed Boris Johnson. He continued: "Well they obviously don't think that because they voted Conservative in a general election just gone by, and they feel as if it was the right choice to make."

"But do you think austerity went too far?" asked Mahmood again.

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"No I don't," insisted the Conservative MP. "We had to make difficult decisions to get the public finances in order," he explained, to the amazement of the Labour MP.

In a video shared on social media - and viewed thousands of times - users reacted with anger.

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Christopher Bloore responded: "When you lose elections you embolden people like this. To simply gloss over the hurt and pain caused by a Tory government. Eyes on the prize please Labour. A generation is at risk."

Asif Mohammed tweeted: "Austerity was a political weapon in the hands of corporate Britain who used it unrelentingly against the working-class by closing our libraries, privatising our schools and outsourcing our NHS. No wonder they're rubbing their hands with glee 10 years later."

"Over a third of kids in Northfield live in poverty but apparently austerity didn't go too far for our new Tory MP," said Twitter user @Kirsten_KE.

"Tell that to families struggling to eat through in work poverty, the homeless, our foodbank volunteers - and this is the tip of the iceberg," wrote Kevin Round.

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