Bradford MP Naz Shah under fire after saying holidays in Scarborough are 'what poverty is'

A Yorkshire MP has come under fire after saying holidays in Scarborough are 'what poverty is' after being sent there by social services as a child.

Naz Shah spoke of her experiences of poverty in the House of Commons earlier this week

Bradford MP Naz Shah was speaking in the House of Commons on the issue of poverty earlier this week when she made the statement.

She revealed as she was growing up in poverty in Bradford that she would be 'palmed off' to Scarborough by the social services, an experience she did not want her constituents' children to have.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But the Labour MP has been criticised by many for her comments, including Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, who said it was a "shame this wasn't good enough for her".

Addressing her colleagues in the house, Ms Shah said: "It's not a laughing matter for children to be raised in poverty and not have food. Because let me explain what it's like. I'm happy to explain what it's like to members opposite who think it's funny.

"What it's like to live in poverty is when you're palmed off as a child like I was to social services to go away to Scarborough for a week like I did. The only memories I have of that time are I used to go bird watching. It was awfully cold and staying in a dormitory.

"Actually, only this afternoon I rang my sister to ask her, do you remember when we used to go to Scarborough because mum used to send us there for summer holidays? That is what poverty is. It is not memories you want to recall as an adult, even in my mid-40s.

"They're not memories my constituents' children should have to recall in generations to come."

Mr Goodwill said: “Many of my friends never went on holiday. Naz is complaining she had a council funded week in Scarborough. Many of her constituents from Bradford love to come to Scarborough year after year. It’s a shame that this wasn’t good enough for her."

A number of people took to social media to respond to Ms Shah's tweet.

Judy Cossins replied: "Lucky her - at least she went on holiday even if was only to Scarborough. I grew up in Scarborough. We had no money to go on holiday but i guess also not poor enough to get any help from social services so just couldn't afford to go anywhere other than a day trip to Whitby."

Another user added: "To bad mouth a town you haven't been to since you were a child is shocking, not only that but you were in poverty at that time and in the care of ss, Scarborough isn't to blame."

It comes as a Conservative party activist was suspended for sending a tweet to Ms Shah telling her to 'go back to Pakistan' - for which she has since apologised.


Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected] Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Sincerely. Thank you.

James Mitchinson