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22 October 2020 20:32

School meal Marcus Rashford School

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell quits parliamentary role over free school meals

A SUSSEX Conservative MP has quit a government role after her colleagues voted down a proposal to extend a free school meals scheme championed by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford. Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell was one of five Tory politicians to rebel against the party and support the motion, which was defeated by 261 votes to 322 yesteday. The scheme would have provided more than one million vulnerable children with free school meals during the holidays until Easter next year. Mrs Ansell said she believed this "could be used to reach families in Eastbourne and across the country" in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. READ MORE: This is how Sussex MPs voted on the free school meals proposal As a result, following the proposals heavy defeat in the house of commons, she announced her resignation from the role of Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

In a statement released this morning, Mrs Ansell wrote: "In these unprecedented times, I am very concerned to be doing all we can to help lower-income families and their children who are really struggling due to the impact of the virus." "Due to my decision not to support the government in this debate, I have resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs." It is important that we continue to promote these adverts as our local businesses need as much support as possible during these challenging times. A Conservative MP who backed Marcus Rashford's free school meals plan has resigned from the Government. Caroline Ansell, the MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, was among five Tory rebels who defied Boris Johnson to back a Labour motion to feed hungry children during the holidays. The motion was defeated by 322 votes to 261 on Wednesday, as Tory MPs blocked the plan to extend meals to some 1.4 million of the poorest youngsters during the holidays until Easter 2021. Quitting her post as a parliamentary aide for the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, Ms Ansell said her "conscience" would not allow her to vote with the Government on the issue.

In a resignation statement on Thursday, Ms Ansell said: "In these unprecedented times, I am very concerned to be doing all we can to help lower-income families and their children who are really struggling due to the impact of the virus." The plan had been championed by Mr Rashford, who successfully forced the Government into a u-turn on free school meals in the summer. The England and Manchester United striker said children would go to bed hungry and "feeling like they do not matter" after ugly clashes in the Commons. Earlier, Tory Minister Kit Malthouse moaned Rashford's criticism of the free school meals defeat is "unfair" in a round of broadcast He also failed to deny Tory whips briefed MPs on attack lines against free school meals. Asked if MPs were told to gang up on the footballer, Mr Malthouse told Sky News: "I don't think it's necessarily ganging up, it's standard practice during any debate for political parties to issue briefs with suggested lines." Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has quit her parliamentary role after voting against the government on extending free school meal vouchers. Ms Ansell voted for Labour's motion on extending free school meal vouchers until after Easter 2021 for families in receipt of Universal Credit or an equivalent benefit.

As Ms Ansell voted against the government, she has resigned from her unpaid position as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. "In these unprecedented times, I am very concerned to be doing all we can to help lower-income families and their children who are really struggling due to the impact of the virus." "Therefore, last night, I voted for Labour's motion on extending free school meal vouchers until after Easter 2021 for those families in receipt of Universal Credit or an equivalent benefit." "However, as we are still very much living in the shadow of the pandemic, vouchers are a lever - not perfect, not sustainable - but one which I thought could be used to reach families in Eastbourne and across the country in the immediate time ahead. The Scottish and Welsh devolved governments are currently providing free school meals until Easter. A Conservative MP has quit her government job in protest at Boris Johnson's refusal to back Marcus Rashford's campaign to extend free school meal vouchers during the holidays. Caroline Ansell – one of only five MPs to side vote with Labour on the failed bid to tackle child food poverty – announced she had resigned her position as a parliamentary private secretary.

The MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon said she could not ignore her "conscience" on the issue in a statement explaining why she had sided with the opposition. "I am very concerned to be doing all we can to help lower-income families and their children who are really struggling due to the impact of the virus," Ms Ansell said, adding that she did not believe vouchers were "long-term solution" to food poverty. "However, as we are still very much living in the shadow of the pandemic, vouchers are a lever – not perfect, not sustainable – but one which I thought could be used to reach families in Eastbourne and across the country in the immediate time ahead. On Wednesday night MPs rejected a Labour motion to extend free meal vouchers during the school holidays until Easter 2021 by a majority of 61 – sparking outrage from Mr Rashford and fellow campaigners. Mr Johnson had whipped Tory MPs to vote against the plan, arguing that it was not the job of schools to "regularly provide food during the school holidays".

After several Tory MPs spoke out against his campaign on social media, England international Mr Rashford said: "A significant number of children are going to be tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today." The footballer also shared some of the briefing lines Tory MPs were told to take by party whips and said he "despaired" at what he called political one-upmanship. On Thursday morning Tory MP Jeremy Hunt suggested he had voted with the government because it was too early to provide emergency help, despite the half-term holiday being only days away.