Tory politician branded 'painfully out of touch' after telling struggling parents to shop at M&S
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A Tory council leader has sparked outrage by suggesting parents struggling to feed their children should shop at M&S.

Mike Bird, head of Walsall council in the West Midlands, told BBC Radio 5 Live that:

It doesn’t take a great deal of money to feed a child. This is a political football created by Marcus Rashford. He kicks it on the pitch and now the Labour Party are booting it around. 

I’m sorry, it’s not going to work with me. Marks and Spencer are supposed to be the most expensive for food but you can buy three meals for £7 there. 

Tory MPs voted against extending vouchers for free school meals into the half-term holidays, despite pressure from Marcus Rashord’s campaign. More than a million people signed his petition urging the government to reconsider, as they did before the summer holidays.

Bird’s comments sparked an instant backlash.

He later released a statement in which he admitted his comments "created controversy", but added that he will "stand by that viewpoint" that free school meals have become a political football.

He also reportedly announced that the council will conduct a short appraisal of the financial support on offer to vulnerable local residents.

A Marks and Spencer spokesperson told indy100:

Through our longstanding food redistribution partnership with Neighbourly, since March we have helped to put more than 6 million meals on the table for those who need it most by working with 1,500 local community groups.

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