6 pretty awful things the Tories did this week, in case you missed it

Joanna Taylor
Saturday 16 January 2021 10:20
(Reuters TV)

The Tories have hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this week, with rows about fisheries and free school meals breaking out once again.

So we’ve rounded up 6 of the most ridiculous and awful things the Tories have said and done, from their latest Brexit mess to causing coffee chaos. 

1. Provided school children with “offensively meagre scraps”. 

Earlier this week, social media was flooded with photos of the “woefully inadequate” and “offensively meagre” food parcels children eligible for free school meals have been receiving during lockdown. The parcels, some of which contained items like half a bell pepper and a carrot “stub”, were supposed to contain up to £30 worth of food. 

Chartwells, the private company the Tories hired to provide the parcels (and which was run by a Tory donor until last month), apologised and promised to investigate.

2. Refused to provide free school meals over half term, again. 

In case just one school meals row wasn’t enough, this week the Tories told schools not to provide free meals or vouchers to pupils who would ordinarily receive them over February half-term. 

Already, the National Education Union is taking the Tories to task over the claim that the general pandemic support fund will be enough to help struggling families – and, of course, Marcus Rashford is on the case. 

3. Admitted they didn’t all read the small print of their own Brexit deal.

This week, fisheries minister Victoria Prentis admitted that she didn’t read the Trade and Cooperation Agreement on its initial release – because she was too busy “organising the local Nativity”. 

Speculation has also arisen that Boris Johnson didn’t read all 1,246 pages of the deal on Christmas eve either, as his spokesperson refused to confirm that he categorically did to journalists.

4. Dismissed concerns about the fishing industry’s collapse by claiming the fish are “happier” now they’re British.

“Brexit bureaucracy” has left Scottish fishers with a backlog of the highly-perishable goods unable to cross the border for trading in France and beyond. As a result, prices are “collapsing” and the industry is suffering.

But Jacob Rees-Mogg cheerfully dismissed these concerns, telling the Commons:

“The key thing is we’ve got our fish back. They’re now British fish and they’re better and happier for it.”  

5. Suggested homeless people should save up for a housing deposit.

Asked how his housing proposals would help people living in temporary accommodation in London, Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey suggested that they could “get involved” in shared ownership. He reportedly said:

“I don’t think the £5,000 deposit will [be a problem]”. The mortgage application bit might be a bit tougher. They could save for it.”

6. Caused a lot of confusion about coffee.

Downing Street is reportedly considering “don’t let a coffee cost a life” as their new “shock” Covid-19 lockdown slogan. And yet, buying a takeaway coffee is currently legal in the UK.

This follows further confusion after police were forced to retract “overzealous” fines from two women who drove 10 minutes to a enjoy a socially-distanced walk and takeaway coffee in a local park.