EMPTY plates were piled up against Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi’s town centre office in response to his vote against extending the free school meals campaign.
Mr Zahawi was among 322 MPs who voted against extending the initiative – spearheaded by footballer Marcus Rashford – to the Easter holidays.
A social media post called for those ‘disgusted’ with Mr Zahawi’s refusal to support the scheme to write a message to him on a plate and leave it outside his office.
Messages included: ’30 per cent of children in the UK live in poverty’ and ‘Nadhim votes against and Stratford is incensed’ and ‘Feed the children, not the Tory MPs.’
And Mr Zahawi’s office is not the only one to be besieged by empty plates this week. Tory offices across the UK, including that of Southend West MP Sir David Amess and the Wycombe Conservative Association branch, have also been targeted.
Mr Zahawi has since defended his vote amid the growing anger from the public.
He said the best way to deal with the issue was through local governments and the welfare system. He added government could learn from a £9million school club scheme, piloted over the summer, and hinted of a possible extension into the winter in which free meals could be included. The junior business minister also said activities were more important to some parents.
Warwickshire County Council has pledged to plug the free school meals gap during last week’s half-term holiday, and the upcoming Christmas break.
The scheme – which has provided more than £450,000 of support to families during the pandemic – has been in place for many years and will see children who rely on free school meals continue to receive support through all holidays.
Along with financial support to provide food for children, those with siblings age two or above will also be entitled to help.