The Conservatives must tackle the “burning injustices” facing working class white boys, the party’s former vice chairman has said as he warned that they are being treated like a “taboo subject”.
Ben Bradley, the MP for Mansfield, on Wednesday called on Boris Johnson to focus his “blue collar” agenda on helping white disadvantaged boys who have been “brushed under the carpet” by society.
Highlighting the growing gap in educational outcomes between boys from poor white backgrounds and their counterparts, Mr Bradley set out a series of proposals to improve schools and teaching in deprived areas.
He also hit out at Westminster’s obsession with “white male privilege”, arguing that MPs had shown a reluctance to address their “plight” despite statistics showing they are now “consistently at the bottom of the pile.”
And while the Prime Minister has promised to deliver for his newly converted voters from Labour's former heartlands Mr Bradley warned he would fail to level up towns and regions “unless we grapple with the burning injustice that is facing white, working class boys.”
Speaking during a Parliamentary debate, he added: “We hear a lot here and in the media about white male privilege .
“I’d say to those people come to my community and talk to the blokes who spent their whole lives underground digging coal to keep your lights on, and who are now dying early of lung disease because of it, and talk to them about their privilege.
“It’s their children I’m talking about today, who need help and their communities need help.”
To tackle the issue, Mr Bradley said schools needed to be giving more resources and flexibility in the curriculum to “deliver real and genuine change.”
His proposals include boosting funding for childcare in order to address the fact that a single mother working 15 hours a week may be entitled to fewer hours than wealthier married couples.
To encourage parents to play a more active role in their children’s education, the Department for Education should implement after-school family literacy classes at primary-level.
With far fewer working class white boys attending university, he also called for schools to be allowed to focus more on employability and delivering technical and vocational courses.