Tory MP downplays free school meals scandal saying 'it's only lunch'

Pauline Latham on Channel 4 News

Pauline Latham on Channel 4 News - Credit: Channel 4 News

Tory MP Pauline Latham has downplayed pictures showing meagre free school meals by saying there were only ever intended 'for lunch'.

Appearing on Channel 4 News, the Derbyshire MP said she was appalled by the sight of some portions but sought to dismiss concerns children were not given enough food.

"The schools decide whether they want to use local vouchers with a local provider," she said. "There are some national ones coming online any minute now. We don’t give out cash as such."

She continued: "The whole point of this is to give a balanced meal for the children.

"It’s only their lunch, it’s not all meals every day. It’s enough for lunches for a child for a week… Usually."

MORE: Government urged to investigate 'woefully inadequate' free school meals

MORE: Matt Hancock praises free school meals before being reminded he voted against them

Latham's comments caused a stir on social media.

Anti-poverty campaigner Jack Monroe tweeted: "Absolutely not true. For many kids the FSM (free school meals) offering may be the ONLY meal they get in a day, which is why so many experts have worked to ensure it is nutritious and balanced and filling. If a family is in receipt of FSM they're probably not dining like kings."

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@TwElfWoman commented: "This was a painful watch yesterday. But a useful reminder some people lack so much empathy and understanding."

MORE: James O'Brien lashes out at companies in charge of 'disgraceful' school meal parcels

One Twitter user posted a photo showcasing the disparity in food parcels in Wales and England.

@OMilford delivered a more direct message to the MP.

"Pauline Latham is on #C4news saying its the schools fault parents are getting substandard children's lunches. Where to start...Gaslighting, Shifting blame. It's her party's government that organises the lunches. Why not just apologise and promise to fix it? #ShameOnYou."

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