Radio Sandwell Local News

Benefits Street star 'White Dee' to stand as MP

2014-02-14 21:27:21

Deirdre Kelly
Deirdre Kelly, aka White Dee, on James Turner Street

Benefits Street star White Dee has announced she is to stand for Parliament.

Deirdre Kelly, known in the controversial Channel Four documentary as White Dee, plans to stand as an independent candidate in her home constituency of Birmingham Ladywood.

And she announced her political ambitions with a blast at the Government - for giving too many benefits to the unemployed.

Her decision comes after one MP said she would make a lousy politician. 

Eton-educated Kwasi Kwarteng told a newspaper: "She's not a particularly good role model."

Ms Kelly said: "What a cheek! The fuss about Benefits Street means Ladbrokes has made me 50-1 to be the next MP for Birmingham Ladywood, and until I read that patronising nonsense I wasn't going to stand. Now, I think I will.

"As an independent, mind. How far will I get? Let's just see. 'From Benefits Street to Downing Street' - now, that would be a headline."

Writing in magazine The Spectator, she said: "More should be done for people who work. I'm not working at the moment, so I don’t have to pay rent or council tax. I'd say my income averages about £200 a week.

"Now I know quite a few working people that haven't got £200 a week - and they're working hard all day. That's not right.

"I've read about teachers who have to use food banks. That's not right.

"But I'm not the one who set up the system. I can see why some people are angry.

"But I didn't ask for those people who keep coming to my door, offering loft insulation or a boiler for free because I'm on benefits. Why can't people who are working, and struggling be entitled to free loft insulation as well?

"It's not as if people go to the government and say: 'I don't want to look for a job, but I want to receive this amount of money.' It's the system.

"The benefits system does make people comfortable, and certainly makes some people not want to go and look for a job. But that is an issue for the government to tackle."

Clare Short was Labour MP for Ladywood for 27 years. She was highly critical of the Benefits Street series, claiming it provided "false justification for viewers to judge and sneer."

The current Labour MP for Ladywood is Shabana Mahmood. She has written to Channel Four demanding that the TV station provides security for residents of James Turner Street so they can get on with their lives without intrusion.

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