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Tory MP banned from shop for life after he voted against free school meals

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
 Youth wearing masks are seen holding placards during the protest against the decision to cut school meals. Youth protest outside Downing Street after the UK government MPs voted not to pay for school meals for under privileged children during half term. (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Young people protest outside Downing Street after MPs voted against extending free school meals during half-term. (PA)

A Conservative MP has been banned from a shop for life after he voted against free school meals.

David Morris, the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale in Lancashire, is barred from the Runners Centre on Kings Arcade in Lancaster, LancsLive reported.

A sign posted in the window reads: “David Morris MP is barred from entering this store for voting to starve children.

“Along with 322 other Conservative MPs he voted against extending free meals for kids.”

Last week, Tory MPs voted against a Labour call to extend free school meals in the half-term holiday by 322 votes to 261, with only five Conservatives rebelling.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson poses for photographs with members of the British military to mark the launch of the annual Royal British Legion Poppy appeal outside 10 Downing Street, in London, Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Boris Johnson is under pressure to U-turn over free school meals. (AP Photo)

The issue was raised in Parliament following a high-profile campaign by England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford.

Read more: ‘No U-turn on free school meals’ in the holidays

The government extended the free school meal programme during the Easter holidays and again in the summer but has refused to do so again.

Ian Bailey, owner of the Runners Centre, told LancsLive: "For David Morris to vote against allowing the children meal credit to continue is just abhorrent when he himself will sit in Parliament and get subsidised meals within Westminster where he won't extend that privilege to anybody else.

“It's just completely wrong. So from that we banned him from this store."

Watch: Doctor criticises ‘stubborn’ MPs over school meals

Prime minister Boris Johnson said on Monday: “We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this government – and you are not going to see that.”

He praised the work of Rashford but said he had not spoken to him since the summer.

Johnson said councils had been given extra money and Universal Credit had increased.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child, goes hungry this winter during the holidays, that’s obviously something we care about very much”.

Johnson is facing a Tory rebellion over free school meals, and the Labour Party says it will bring another vote before Parliament before Christmas unless the government alters its policy.

Senior Conservative MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said the government had “misunderstood” the public mood on free school meals.

Read more: Tory MP takes on Marcus Rashford in free schools meals Twitter row

Several councils have pledged to supply vouchers for children who need free school meals, while more than 2,000 paediatricians have signed a letter calling on the government to change its stance.

Johnson is under increasing pressure to U-turn on the policy, with The Times reporting he will make a partial climbdown by increasing funding for the poorest families over the Christmas holidays.

A petition calling for MPs to be stripped of their food subsidies in Parliamentary bars and restaurants that offer them discounts has been signed by more than 890,000 people.

But cabinet minister Brandon Lewis defended the government and said providing help through councils was "the right way to do it".

He said the government had increased Universal Credit and allocated £63m to local authorities.

Watch: What is Universal Basic Income?