Tory candidate tells audience: I'm really pleased we've got food banks

A Tory candidate threatened to call the police during an election hustings after telling the audience that she is “really pleased we have food banks“.

Sheryll Murray, who has been MP for South East Cornwall since 2010, made the comments at an event in Callington on Saturday.

The 61-year-old told voters that people could require the help of food banks if their circumstances changed, such as moving house or their benefits being delayed.

But, after Murray said she is “pleased” the constituency has food banks, the audience reacted with dismay, with one man shouting: “A civilised society shouldn’t need it”.

Ms Murray gestured to a section of the audience, reportedly Jeremy Corbyn supporters, and said “Let’s ignore these”.

One woman told the candidate: “How dare you stand there and say that you can ignore me. I’m sitting down now but you are being rude.”

Ms Murray replied: “I think we should leave because obviously I am not being subjected to this.

“You’ve all witnessed this horrendous behaviour. I came here in good faith today.”

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She then suggested the woman who stood up should leave. The woman said: “If you want me to leave, you call the police.”

Ms Murray turned to an aide and said: “Right Bob, would you like to go and try and do that please?”

Leah Browning, a community worker from Liskeard, said she wished she had not attended the “horrific” event.

“I totally understood and empathised with the feeling in the room because so many people in the room had not had the opportunity to ask the questions

“It was a pretty horrific hustings and I don’t think I’ll be going to any more.”

Shayne Adams, from Crafthole, near Plymouth, also attended the hustings.

“I think, to be honest, most people were absolutely shocked by the response to the food bank question and from there, regardless of any one particular outburst, people were trying to hold it together because you do genuinely want to hear the response of the candidates,” Mr Adams said.

“She was challenged when she said something offensive. The best analogy is as though when she finishes her political career she would quite like Katie Hopkins’ job.”

In a statement, Ms Murray’s team claimed the event had been “hijacked” by a group of Mr Corbyn’s supporters.

They said one woman had lunged for the candidate while reaching in her bag and later waved a “very large pair of pink underwear above her head”.

Ms Murray added: “Nobody is saying a person going hungry is a good thing and everything must be done to stop this.

“While we work to eradicate hunger, however, the food banks themselves do provide a good service.

“What really concerns me at the moment is Jeremy Corbyn gaining power and everyone needing food banks as the economy takes a nose dive.”

UK foodbank use continues to rise with over one million three-day emergency food supplies given to people in 2016/17, according to The Trussell Trust.