Published: 11:00, 28 April 2015
A Liberal Democrat candidate is under fire after suggesting that population controls could be a way of dealing with over-crowding in the country.
Russ Timpson, who is standing in South Thanet, made his remarks during a Radio Kent programme on immigration due to be broadcast on Friday.
He was among a panel of candidates debating immigration and ways in which it could be tackled.
Mr Timpson is reported to have said that population controls, including possible limits on the number of children families should have, ought to be part of the debate.
He said the subject of population controls was one people were too frightened to talk about.
His comments were said to have drawn a shocked reaction from the audience.
Speaking today, Mr Timpson said that he had not meant to say there should be limits on the number of children families should have, but said he supported those who argued for population controls.
“If I said limits, I didn’t mean to. But I am trying to further the debate. It is one of my clear objectivies to raise the issue because it is a fundamental one because in global terms we are seeing the mass movement of people.”
He said he personally supported the campaign group called Population Matters.
Its manifesto states: “We think that the government should send a signal that larger families are not desirable.
“I’ve always respected Russ, but if we’ve understood him correctly then what he’s advocating is something totally barmy" - Will Scobie
"We believe therefore that child-related payments or tax credits after the first two children in a household should not be automatic, while ensuring that children are protected from poverty.”
Mr Timpson said: “It is not Lib Dem policy [to limit child tax credits] but it is something I personally support.”
Labour candidate Will Scobie,who was on the panel, said after the meeting: “I’ve always respected Russ, but if we’ve understood him correctly then what he’s advocating is something totally barmy.
"Heavy-handed regulations on family planning are not the answer, and could be very dangerous.”
Charlie Elphicke, Conserative candidate in Dover and Deal, was also on the panel.
He said: “It was astonishing and rather chilling to hear the Lib Dem candidate say that there should be population controls.
"The problem is not that we have too many children but we have too few.”