Protesters have targeted the offices and meeting places of 11 more Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals over the holidays with “empty plate” demonstrations.
Demonstrators laid empty plates with messages on them at the headquarters of local Tory MPs in protest against their refusal to provide free meals to pupils over the October half-term and Christmas breaks.
The 322 Tory MPs who rejected the motion in the Commmons last Monday have argued local authorities, not Westminster, should be responsible for feeding vulnerable children and that many have already received the funding to do so.
Protesters have targeted four MPs in Wiltshire, the offices of MPs in Wrexham, South Thanet, Great Yarmouth, represented by cabinet minister Brando Lewis, and Rayleigh and Wickford, whose member of parliament is staunch Brexiteer Mark Francois.
There were also a number of demonstrations at Conservative Party headquarters in Nottingham and Norwich, a Town Hall in Ipswich, and at the Weymouth Conservative Club.
The two most powerful photos in Wrexham today. pic.twitter.com/SQu0t31gwu
— Delwyn 'Sheep' Derrick (@DelwynDerrick) October 27, 2020
In one instance, more than 20 parents and children gathered outside the office of Wiltshire representative and Chippenham MP Michele Donelan.
Organiser Claire Coverley told thisiswiltshire.co.uk: “I teach in Chippenham and I know there will be children going hungry today. We should not have mothers and fathers going to beg for food in this day and age.
“It is despicable, and our MP is supposed to represent us, but instead she just votes with her party.”
She added: “I know teachers who regularly give food to children in this town. This is an endemic long-running crisis, not something caused by Covid.”
— Claire @ Poppy Valentine (@poppyvalentine) October 28, 2020
Donelan said she was “more than happy” to discuss the issue during a surgery appointment.
Louise Regan, chair of Nottingham People’s Assembly, said: “The government has wasted billions of pounds of public money on a test and trace system that doesn’t work.
“So their decision not to extend free school meals for the poorest during the pandemic has rightly outraged the public.
“Our protest is part of a nationwide movement to shame the government into changing its mind and extending the free school meals support as demanded by Marcus Rashford and supported by the public.”
Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside Francois’ office in Rayleigh and Wickford holding empty plates in their hands.
— 🌟Bar Disciple🌟🌹🆓🇵🇸 (@BarDisciple) October 28, 2020
Francois has passed on their concerns to education secretary Gavin Williamson.
Empty plates with messages like “lunch is not a luxury”, “starve a kid, save a quid”, “you get a pay rise while the kids go hungry”, and “£7000 a day on consultant but no to £3 a day to feed a child” written on them and left outside the offices of Sutton MP Paul Scully and Carshalton and Wallington representative Elliot Colburn.
Two business owners went a step further and banned chancellor Rishi Sunak and all 322 MPs from their stores “for life”.
Nigel Farage even waded into the debate, retweeting a post by the Brexit Party of a picture of a half-empty plate of food along with the caption: “The Tories will support ‘eat out to help out’ but they won’t spend a few quid to help a poor kid.”