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MP who voted against free school meal extension now supports government U-turn

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 November 2020

Mr Aldous previously told this newspaper that the extension of free school meals offered 'no long-term solutions.' Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Mr Aldous previously told this newspaper that the extension of free school meals offered 'no long-term solutions.' Credit: Jamie Honeywood

Archant

A Conservative MP who voted against the extension of free school meals has said he now backs the government’s recent U-turn on the issue.

The government have pledged to spend more than £400m to support poor children and their families in England. Credit: ArchantThe government have pledged to spend more than £400m to support poor children and their families in England. Credit: Archant

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The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has now pledged that the government will spend more than £400m to support poor children and their families in England.

This follows from a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, urging government to reconsider after they voted against the extension of free school meals by a vote of 321 Nos and 261 Ayes.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, had previously voted against the measures, saying it “did not offer a long-term solution to the problem of child poverty”.

But, speaking on Tuesday, he revealed a change of heart - calling the U-turn, “a good start”.

“I welcome the government’s announcement of a targeted and co-ordinated package of support to help children and families at this critical time,” he said.

“The Covid Winter Support Scheme, which will run until the end of March 2021, provides Suffolk County Council with over £2 million and it will enable them and those other organisations with whom they work to build on the good work which they are doing to provide food and support to vulnerable families impacted by the Pandemic.

“Across the country and locally charities have played an important role in this work and thus the provision of a further £16 million to assist them in continuing to provide frontline food is also good news.”

But Mr Aldous was criticised for “toeing the party line” by Lowestoft Green Party councillor David Youngman.

Mr Youngman said: “Mr Aldous was elected to represent his constituents but fails to do the correct thing and only toes party lines in an area which suffers from poverty and high levels of unemployment.

“I do not understand how the constituents of Waveney voted Mr Aldous in again despite his poor history of voting over the past decade.

“Though I am happy that the government has taken a U-turn, MPs like Mr Aldous should freely be able to support such issues without having the threat of the whip removed.

“No children should go hungry and our MP should do more to ensure this does not happen.

“In a previous election hustings Mr Aldous said food banks were a wonderful thing which highlights his unwillingness to support the constituents he serves.”


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