New Conservative peer Howard Flight has apologised for remarks saying that the planned child benefit reforms would encourage the poor to “breed”.
Named as one of more than 20 new Conservative peers last week, Mr Flight commented in the London Evening Standard on the government’s plans to scrap child benefit for higher-rate taxpayers.
He said: “We’re going to have a system where the middle classes are discouraged from breeding because it’s jolly expensive but for those on benefit there is every incentive. Well, that’s not very sensible.”
David Cameron rejected calls to block Mr Flight’s peerage, saying: “I don’t agree with what he said and I am sure he will want to apologise for what he said. And I’m sure we can leave it at that.”
The comments provoked backlash from MPs across other parties, who called them “shameful”, “offensive” and “shockingly out of touch with ordinary people”.
In a statement released by the party, Mr Flight issued an “unreserved” apology, and said he wished to withdraw the remark.