Blackpool Victoria Hospital nurse and councillor 'fat-shamed' by Blackpool South MP Scott Benton in gambling gifts row

A Blackpool labour councillor who is also a nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital was publicly 'fat-shamed' by resort MP Scott Benton on Twitter, after criticism of his sporting gifts from the gambling industry.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:23 am
Updated Friday, 16th July 2021, 11:29 am

It was revealed yesterday that Mr Benton, who this week promoted high street bookies and called for a super casino in the resort, accepted £8,000 in freebie sports tickets and hospitality from the gambling industry.

But after receiving criticism online about the revelation from Blackpool labour councillor David Collett, Mr Benton, who is co-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary group on eating disorders, 'fat-shamed' him in response.

Mr Collett tweeted: "Scott gets a free ticket to the Euros from a gambling company and suddenly Blackpool needs a new casino, priceless. Greggs once gave me a free pasty so I’ve sold the town hall to the Great British Bake-off."

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In response, Mr Benton tweeted: "More than one free pasty I expect by the looks of it."

Coun Collett, who is also a trainee oncology nurse at Blackpool Vic, said he was "fat-shamed" by the MP and branded the retort "playground bullying."

Coun Collett said: "When you're an MP or councillor or anyone in the political sphere, people have the opportunity and the right to criticise and question your policies.

"It happens to councillors all the time, but you have to maintain a degree of professionalism. Scott Benton doesn't seem to differentiate the difference between critique and abuse.

Blackpool labour councillor David Collett said he was "fat-shamed" by MP Scott Benton after a row over Mr Benton's gifts from the gambling industry.
Blackpool labour councillor David Collett said he was "fat-shamed" by MP Scott Benton after a row over Mr Benton's gifts from the gambling industry.

"Anyone who disagrees with him as I did, he quite openly reverts to what I call playground bullying. He's apparently laughed it off as a light-hearted joke - well it's not a very funny joke.

"Given his extra responsibilities of being on a committee which looks at people with eating disorders, he should fully realise what those kind of jokes can do to people."

Mr Benton's calls for a super casino review for the resort came under fire earlier this week, before the MP register of interests revealed he had received thousands of pounds in free hospitality and tickets to two Euros matches, Wimbledon and Royal Ascot.

Yesterday, during a visit to Blackpool, labour leader Keir Starmer said after talking to residents they "didn't see a super casino as the silver bullet."

"They would much rather have a properly structured plan for Blackpool that allows them to survive year on year," Mr Starmer said.

Mr Benton has not responded to the Gazette's attempts to contact him.