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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tory MPs vote down bid to feed children in England receiving free school meals during the pandemic

I read somewhere that if the National Health Service was being formed today, it would be voted down by a conservative majority in the House of Commons. That may be unfair on a number of MPs who can see the value of free health care but the sentiment is correct, it seems that this government and those pouring through the lobbies on its behalf have no social conscience.

In Wales, a Welsh Liberal Democrats Education Minister has ensured that those pupils in receipt of free school meals will continue to be fed during lockdown and during school holidays until at least Easter 2021. In England, a request by the footballer Marcus Rashford for the UK Government to follow suit was rejected by Tory MPs last niight, the vote being 322 votes to 261 with a government majority of 61.

The Guardian reports the motion to provide 1.4 million disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021 was voted down:

In response Rashford, 22, who became an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list this month, told his 3.5m Twitter followers: “Put aside all the noise, the digs, the party politics, and let’s focus on the reality. A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today.”

Rashford, who has spoken of his own experience of food poverty growing up in Wythenshawe, Manchester, added: “We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity.

“I don’t have the education of a politician, many on Twitter have made that clear today, but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected. These children matter.” He urged Boris Johnson to sit down and discuss a solution.

This neglect of poorer families and willingness to allow disadvantage children to go without a nutritious meal, will become the new yardstick for measuring the lack of compassion on the Tory benches.
Whilst it was a disappointing result Daisy Cooper concentrating on the long term abolishing of child poverty still goes on.I hope she gets cross party support.
I also noted going to the supermarket that the Tory papers did not have it on the front page. Maybe it is not something they want to point out !!??.
In the vote I noticed that Stewart (Stuart) Andrews had a proxy vote for MORE than 2 MPs. Pairing I can understand,one to one but when one can vote for three plus does seem to be pushing it.Maybe it is time to look at this proxy voting idea.
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