Lincolnshire MPs vote against ‘free school meals’ motion

Eight out of nine Greater Lincolnshire Conservative MPs rejected a plan to extend free school meals over the school holidays.
Free school meals (stock image/PA)Free school meals (stock image/PA)
Free school meals (stock image/PA)

Labour called for the provision of hot food for children to carry on until Easter 2021, however the motion was defeated by a majority of 61 last night.

Leading the vote, Labour’s shadow education secretary Kate Green said more than 1.4 million children benefit from free school meals nationally.

Almost 900,000 of those eligible were now in areas subject to tougher COVID-19 restrictions, she added.

“In the summer, when this issue was debated in this House, the government saw sense, did the right thing and ensured that no child would go hungry over the summer holidays,” she said.

“This time, however, despite many families facing even more challenging circumstances now than they did four months ago, shamefully the government are walking away from their obligation to hungry children.”

Her counterpart, education secretary Gavin Williamson, however, said the government was in a different position.

“Free school meals are and always have been about supporting children with a meal to help them when they’re at school or currently at home learning,” he said.

“But it is our support through universal credit and our comprehensive welfare system that supports families.”

Those who voted against the plans were (all Conservative):

• Karl McCartney, Lincoln (vote cast by Stuart Andrew on his behalf)

• Victoria Atkins, Louth and Horncastle

• Gareth Davies, Grantham and Stamford

• Sir John Hayes, South Holland and the Deepings

• Caroline Johnson, Sleaford and North Hykeham (vote cast by Stuart Andrew on her behalf)

• Sir Edward Leigh, Gainsborough

• Matt Warman, Boston and Skegness

• Martin Vickers, Cleethorpes

The only MP to vote for the plans was Scunthorpe Conservative MP Holly Mumby-Croft.

Greater Grimsby MP Lia Nici and Brigg and Goole’s Andrew Percy did not vote, and none of the MPs spoke on the motion.

Former Lincoln Labour MP Karen Lee criticised her successor on Twitter, writing: “Just imagine if the MP for a city like Lincoln where there are areas which have high levels of child poverty, voted against extending free school meals into the school holidays. How would those families feel they’d been represented?”