Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has slammed a Tory MP who suggested parents were partly to blame for child hunger in the UK.
Kevin Hollinrake, the MP for Thirsk and Malton, heaped praise on the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme when he said that ‘where they can, it’s a parents’ job to feed their children.’
Rashford, who launched a campaign to end child hunger in Britain, hit back, writing: ‘I would urge you to talk to families before tweeting. To this day I haven’t met one parent who hasn’t wanted or felt the responsibility to feed their children.
Where they can, it's a parents job to feed their children— Kevin Hollinrake MP (@kevinhollinrake) September 6, 2020
‘Put to the side that this comment came from an MP. It’s comments like this that prevent people from speaking their truth and asking for help.’
The Tory MP later replied: ‘Very happy to debate this with you in any open forum’ – but refused to apologise.
Put to the side that this comment came from an MP. It's comments like this that prevent people from speaking their truth and asking for help. We need to start uplifting each other. I would have had the same response to anyone tweeting this...— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) September 6, 2020
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner praised Rashford’s comments.
She said: ‘Boris Johnson’s out-of-touch Tories either have no idea about the impact of a decade of austerity on families across our country or they simply don’t care.
‘Tory MPs have a lot to learn from Marcus Rashford, an exceptional young man who is using his platform and success to help millions of others who are less fortunate than himself.
‘With child poverty already at obscene levels, the Tories should focus on addressing the crisis of child poverty they have created.’
In June, Rashford successfully swayed ministers to extend free school meal vouchers through the summer break.
In a letter to MPs he wrote: ‘I remember the sound of my mum crying herself to sleep to this day, having worked a 14-hour shift, unsure how she was going to make ends meet.’
Hollinrake co-chairs the parliament’s all party group on poverty. He represents an affluent constituency where only 1.7% of constituents claim unemployment according to the House of Commons Library, and where 63.5% of residents own their own home.
In May 2019, a report by campaigners End Child Poverty found that 22.6% of children Thirsk and Malton live in poverty.