Labour Calls On Tory MPs To Back Marcus Rashford Free School Meals Plan

Paul Waugh
·2-min read

Labour has called on Tory MPs to back Marcus Rashford’s plan to extend free school meals over holiday periods or else see the issue put to a Commons vote on Wednesday.

The warning of an Opposition Day motion came as No.10 again refused to commit to the England footballer’s proposals to tackle child hunger in England.

The party had warned that unless ministers changed tack a vote would take place on Wednesday, with Conservative backbenchers faced with a choice of backing Rashford’s plan or either abstaining or voting against it.

Shadow children’s minister Tulip Siddiq wrote to every Tory MP on Monday night asking them to support the plan to provide additional support to over 1.4 million children in every school holiday until Easter.

In her letter, she wrote: “Labour have said that if the Government does not urgently U-turn, we will force a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday – this will mean that you and your colleagues will have to take a clear stance on this issue.”

The move came as the party’s 72-hour deadline passed for a response from the government to announce a U-turn.

Labour wants the government to extend free school meals, starting with the October half term which begins next week in most places in England.

The Labour government in Wales has already pledged £11m to provide additional support until next Easter’s school holidays.

On Saturday, Rashford challenged Boris Johnson to honour his election pledge to “level up” the UK by introducing a comprehensive package to end child poverty and hunger.

He called for major changes to the welfare system, including an end to the Tories’ two-child cap on Universal Credit and an increase in the value of healthy eating vouchers for pregnant mothers.

Rashford has amassed nearly 300,000 signatures in just over two days for his online parliamentary petition demanding urgent action to stop children going hungry.

No.10 Downing Street sparked anger last week when it flatly rejected his proposals,...

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