Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson has said it is “nonsense” to claim anyone in the UK is living in poverty.
Speaking on the fringes of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Tuesday, the outspoken MP said people just needed to “get off their arse”.
“This is still the best county in the wold. There are plenty of jobs. People have got money,” he said.
“You know my stance on the food poverty stuff,” he told the audience of party members at the event hosted by ConservativeHome.
“This poverty nonsense. Go in a time machine back to when I was growing up in the 1970s — that was real poverty.”
He added: “Yeah things are tough. Things are difficult for families. People are struggling to budget sometimes. But this is not an impoverished island.
“This is a wealthy country. The opportunities here are limitless.
“If you want something you can get it. You need to get off your arse and go and get it for yourself.”
Anderson - a former Labour councillor who defected to the Tories - also predicted the Conservatives under Rishi Sunak could still win the next general election.
“Keep the ship calm. We’ll be fine. I think we will win next year,” he said.
The MP for Ashfield, who won his seat in 2019, said the government was “two years behind on delivering what we promised” as a result of Covid.
“I think now we are on the right tack,” he said. “Rishi has only been in post a year. I think he is doing alright. I think he is doing well.”
He added of leadership:“I always think a dictator is a good idea if they’re a good dictator, but there’s never a good dictator.”
It came after Sunak denied he is “afraid” of the verdict of the British people when he claimed that no one wants a general election.