MP provokes angry response after free school meal vote

Crewe and Nantwich MP votes against extending free school meals

Residents of Crewe took to social media after Crewe and Nantwich MP Dr Kieran Mullan defended voting against the extension of free school meals.

The MP voted against a Labour proposal to extend free school meals outside of term time until Easter 2021.

In a Facebook post the MP for Crewe and Nantwich said:

Do I want to see children go hungry?What about parents?What are we doing?The Labour Party will tell you that I want…

Posted by Dr Kieran Mullan MP on Thursday, 22 October 2020

The response drew angry comments from local residents,

Replying to the post one resident said:

I had low expectations of you to begin with, and you’re meeting every one of them. To try and spin this as political point scoring and blame Labour when your party have been in government for over a decade is quite frankly shameful. In Crewe we have at least three food banks, a social supermarket, four homeless provisions and countless other services supporting vulnerable people in poverty. Your colleagues in Westminster have failed to tackle rising poverty levels for families both in and out of work and completely fail to understand that this is a societal issue and not down to the poor spending habits of individual households. Of course parents should be responsible for their own children. Have you ever stopped to consider the embarrassment that parents face having to rely on the charity of strangers to feed their children, or the stigma of having to put your hand up in front of the rest of class to get your free school meals? No one WANTS to be in this situation, but it is primarily caused by socio-economic conditions and NOT poor parenting.

Responding to the above comment one resident said:

This is so true! There are some parents who would rather go hungry themselves and feed their kids than risk being seen visiting a foodbank by someone who knows them.

The vote comes after a well publisicsed campaign by Manchester Utd footballer Marcus Rashford to support vulnerable families during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Tweeting after the vote Mr Rashford said:

There was anger at Dr Mullan’s suggestion that charities have a role to play in tackling poverty, one resident responded:

“Poverty… has not been created overnight” – you’re quite right, it’s your government’s actions over the last 10 years that has lead children into poverty. But of course it’s nothing to do with you, you’ve just absolved your government of all responsibility. It’s not the responsibility of charities to fill the gap that you’re leaving behind. I pay my taxes so that children aren’t left in poverty. It’s disgraceful, you should be ashamed of yourself.

There was however some support for Dr Mullan, one reply said:

Well said. It is never the Governments responsibility to feed people’s children, it is their parents, that said we have been in an awful situation with Covid-19 and genuine hardship has fallen on some people that have worked hard all their lives to provide for their families but at the moment some are struggling. There is lots of work to do with people to educate them on bringing children into the world and past governments have failed. Last time Labour were in power they gave free reign for people to have children and not work, they got into a place were they relied on benefits and that was how they lived their lives. No Tory MP voted to starve children last night. I do believe that the UC has been upped by £20 a week to help out. Thanks for your explanation and I think Labour knew what they were doing by seeking this vote. Playing party politics in the middle of a global recession is wrong.

The row over the extension of free school meals comes at a time when the Trussell Trust published research showing an 89% increase in food parcels for April 2020 compared to April 2019. In the same period, the number of food parcels given to children increased by 107%

Help and information for those who find themselves in need can be found on the Trussell Trust website.

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