The sister of prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg has been hammered on Twitter following ‘insensitive’ comments she made on food poverty in the UK.
Annunziata Rees-Mogg, the younger sister of the House of Commons leader, shared a tweet suggesting people on low incomes should buy fresh produce in lieu of junk food in order to save money and improve their health.
‘Tesco 1kg potatoes = 83p, 950g own brand chips = £1.35,’ she posted on her official Twitter account, insinuating it was cheaper to buy ingredients in a frozen bag of chips fresh than it was to buy an actual packet.
Until fruit and veg costs less than a bag of supermarket chips, you can't expect struggling households to have healthier diets https://t.co/qMXDB9VB96— Hollie Borland (@HollieBorland) July 27, 2020
Her posted sparked a backlash on the social media website with hundreds of comments berating the former Brexit Party MEP as ‘insensitive’ and ‘privileged’.
@MissRachelle said: ‘+ Tesco own brand oil £1.10 + table salt at £0.35 = £2.28. You’re privileged enough not to have to think about the cost of ‘condiments and staples’ @zatzi – please don’t think others are simple, when you’re the one that is oversimplifying.’
+ Tesco own brand oil £1.10— RACHELLE (RUH + SHEL) (@MissRachelle) July 29, 2020
+ table salt at £0.35
You're privileged enough not to have to think about the cost of 'condiments and staples' @zatzi - please don't think others are simple, when you're the one that is oversimplifying. https://t.co/GVqDe3dQhF
Mark Nailham called Rees-Mogg’s message ‘another ‘let them eat cake’ moment from a caring, sharing Brexit lover’.
@jamexast labelled the former MEP’s message ‘tone deaf’. ‘How tone deaf can you be honestly. I lost three stone and the only way I managed to do this was a complete re-education with food along with the luxury of time and money to exercise. The availability of unhealthy food compared to proper food is a bigger issue than price.’
Rees-Mogg followed up with an even more crass response in which she pontificated on the importance of learning how to budget and cook.
She tweeted: ‘The oft repeated but inaccurate belief that low quality/unhealthy food is *always* cheaper than raw ingredients is part of the problem. It’s why learning to buy/budget for food is important alongside learning to cook.’
Tom Roberts shot back: ‘I can only imagine how easy you think it is to be poor. Unhealthy food is always cheaper, you aren’t taking into consideration the time it take to make meals. Time, the thing poor people don’t have the luxury of as they are often working long hours or multiple jobs.’
@t_sfea wrote: ‘Conservatives will really sit there and tell you ‘well broccoli is only 50p but an oven pizza is £1 so poor people only eat unhealthily because they’re lazy’ as if it’s reasonable to expect people to eat plain vegetables and nothing else for dinner. It’s so dystopian.’
Conservatives will really sit there and tell you ‘well broccoli is only 50p but an oven pizza is £1 so poor people only eat unhealthily because they’re lazy’ as if it’s reasonable to expect people to eat plain vegetables and nothing else for dinner. It’s so dystopian.— T gone Labour MP 𓆏🏴🚩 (@t_sfea) July 28, 2020
@AdsCondron make light of the situation: ‘Rich people telling you how to food budget and fat blokes telling you to loose weight. The Conservatives.’
The online row was sparked when someone criticised Boris Johnson’s plan to end two-for-one meal deals on unhealthy products as part of his wide-ranging anti-obesity strategy.
Rees-Mogg is no stranger to controversy. In 2019, she wrote about ways companies could profit from the world’s water crisis.
‘The region is already suffering from water shortages, which are getting worse,’ enthuses the reporter, referring to shortages in the US. ‘By holding a substantial number of water rights, [the company] ‘is turning water into money’.’
In a 2005 article on the same subject Rees-Mogg could barely bring herself to attribute this money-spinner of a problem to man-made climate change.