Entertainment News

  • 23 January 2014, 6:16

Benefits Street: White Dee Invites Nick Clegg

Nick Clegg has been invited to visit the residents of a street which features in a documentary about benefit claimants.

One of its main stars, Deirdre Kelly, known as White Dee in the show, called the Deputy Prime Minister's weekly phone-in programme on LBC radio and told host Nick Ferrari: "We would love him to come to Benefits Street."

Channel 4's Benefits Street is a five-part series which focuses on residents of James Turner Street in Winson Green, Birmingham, and "the reality of life on benefits".

Ms Kelly, who describes herself as the mother of the street, asked Mr Clegg if he thought the programme was "a fair reflection of people on benefits".

In response to the invitation to visit the street, Mr Clegg said he was not going to make any promises on air.

He admitted he had not seen the show, but said he had heard differing opinions about it.

He said: "Some people say all people on benefits are like this ... they are scroungers and living off the state. Others say it is demonising people and it shouldn't have been made."

Mr Clegg said he wanted a "compassionate" welfare system, and one where "receiving help from the generosity of others shouldn't be a permanent way of life".

Ms Kelly said the show was "very cleverly edited" and producers had told her the programme was going to be a documentary "based around community spirit, how we get on, how we help each other out".

"It has been a shock. We didn't think it would be this big," she said.

Ms Kelly said if Mr Clegg was to pay the residents a visit he would find "a very clean street, people getting together, helping each other, children going to school", not people "scrounging and lying around".

She told him she voted Labour in the last general election, but added: "You can win me back Mr Clegg."

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