All the Tory MPs who voted to take free meals away from disadvantaged kids in 2018

Joanna Taylor
Thursday 09 July 2020 08:15
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(Jack Taylor / Peter Summers / Getty Images )

Rishi Sunak has announced that everyone will receive 50 per cent off restaurant meals in the month of August.

Eat Out to Help Out vouchers will halve the price of restaurant food between Mondays and Wednesdays, capped at £10 per head and excluding alcoholic drinks.

The scheme, an effort to re-stimulate the hospitality industry in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, has been criticised for failing to take into account the differing incomes of those receiving vouchers.

The Conservatives, it seems, are suddenly able to subsidise food when pubs, cafés and restaurants are in financial danger...

... But have been less generous when children were going hungry.

Recently, it took a campaign by Manchester United player Marcus Rashford to convince the government to U-turn on their decision to end free meals for children over their summer holidays.

And that's not the only time the Conservatives have been criticised for trying to deny food to hungry children.

In 2018, every Conservative MP voted to cut eligibility to free school meals as part of a series of changes Theresa May made to the Universal Credit scheme.

What were MPs voting on?

Prior to 1 April 2018, every child whose family received Universal Credit was eligible for free school meals.

The change, announced by then-chancellor Philip Hammond, meant that for children in year 3 or above, their household's annual income would have to be lower than £7,400 (excluding benefits) for them to receive free school meals. Their logic was the cut would enable them to provide more support to the very poorest families.

Labour opposed to the move, and an amendment opposing it was tabled by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

What was the outcome?

The amendment was voted down 312 to 254.

Every Conservative and DUP MP voted against the amendment, while Labour supported it.

Why did the amendment fail?

Labour accused the Conservatives of buying the DUP's votes by promising to introduce the changes in England only – not Northern Ireland.

The income threshold for families on Universal Credit to qualify for free school meals in Norther Ireland was £14,000, almost double what it was in England.

Jeremy Corbyn accused the Conservatives of engaging in "disgraceful tactics" and "playing politics with the health of our children".

What was the reaction?

The Children's Society charity called the changes a "huge step backwards" that would result in "one million children in poverty who could benefit" being unable to access free school meals.

Tory MP Chris Philip claimed that this figure referred only to children could receive free school meals, not those who were. The Conservatives stressed that the system was not designed to cause people to lose money.

What were the effects?

The eligibility criteria for free school meals has not changed since April 2018, when these changes were implemented.

When schools closed because of lockdown earlier this year, children who met that criteria received food parcels and vouchers to be used in supermarkets.

But the government wanted to stop sending these to children in England over the summer holidays, until, of course, Marcus Rashford stepped in.

Currently around 1.3 million children in England are eligible for free school meals.

The long term effects of the coronavirus lockdown are only likely to worsen the finances of families on low incomes. Indeed, many people are relying on independent charities to survive: the use of food banks almost doubled in the immediate aftermath of the lockdown according to the Trussell Trust.

Sunak's 15 per cent cut to VAT for the hospitality industry and restaurant meal vouchers might help to re-stimulate some businesses, but it does little to help those who cannot afford restaurant meals.

Those who need government assistance the most are all too often those who struggle most to gain it.

The full list

Conservative

Adams, Nigel

Afolami, Bim

Afriyie, Adam

Aldous, Peter

Allan, Lucy

Allen, Heidi

Amess, Sir David

Andrew, Stuart

Argar, Edward

Atkins, Victoria

Bacon, Mr Richard

Badenoch, Mrs Kemi

Baker, Mr Steve

Baldwin, Harriett

Barclay, Stephen

Baron, Mr John

Bebb, Guto

Bellingham, Sir Henry

Benyon, rh Richard

Beresford, Sir Paul

Berry, Jake

Blackman, Bob

Blunt, Crispin

Boles, Nick

Bone, Mr Peter

Bottomley, Sir Peter

Bowie, Andrew

Bradley, Ben

Bradley, rh Karen

Brady, Sir Graham

Brereton, Jack

Bridgen, Andrew

Brine, Steve

Brokenshire, rh James

Bruce, Fiona

Buckland, Robert

Burghart, Alex

Burns, Conor

Burt, rh Alistair

Cairns, rh Alun

Cartlidge, James

Cash, Sir William

Caulfield, Maria

Chalk, Alex

Chishti, Rehman

Chope, Sir Christopher

Clark, Colin

Clark, rh Greg

Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth

Clarke, Mr Simon

Cleverly, James

Clifton-Brown, Sir Geoffrey

Coffey, Dr Thérèse

Collins, Damian

Costa, Alberto

Courts, Robert

Cox, Mr Geoffrey

Crabb, rh Stephen

Crouch, Tracey

Davies, Chris

Davies, David T. C.

Davies, Glyn

Davies, Mims

Davis, rh Mr David

Dinenage, Caroline

Djanogly, Mr Jonathan

Docherty, Leo

Donelan, Michelle

Double, Steve

Dowden, Oliver

Doyle-Price, Jackie

Drax, Richard

Duddridge, James

Duguid, David

Duncan, rh Sir Alan

Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain

Dunne, Mr Philip

Ellis, Michael

Ellwood, rh Mr Tobias

Eustice, George

Evans, Mr Nigel

Evennett, rh David

Fabricant, Michael

Fallon, rh Sir Michael

Fernandes, Suella

Field, rh Mark

Ford, Vicky

Foster, Kevin

Fox, rh Dr Liam

Francois, rh Mr Mark

Frazer, Lucy

Freeman, George

Fysh, Mr Marcus

Garnier, Mark

Gauke, rh Mr David

Ghani, Ms Nusrat

Gibb, rh Nick

Gillan, rh Dame Cheryl

Glen, John

Goldsmith, Zac

Goodwill, Mr Robert

Gove, rh Michael

Graham, Luke

Graham, Richard

Grant, Bill

Grant, Mrs Helen

Grayling, rh Chris

Green, Chris

Green, rh Damian

Greening, rh Justine

Grieve, rh Mr Dominic

Griffiths, Andrew

Gyimah, Mr Sam

Hair, Kirstene

Halfon, rh Robert

Hall, Luke

Hammond, rh Mr Philip

Hammond, Stephen

Hancock, rh Matt

Hands, rh Greg

Harper, rh Mr Mark

Harrington, Richard

Harris, Rebecca

Harrison, Trudy

Hart, Simon

Hayes, rh Mr John

Heald, rh Sir Oliver

Heappey, James

Heaton-Harris, Chris

Heaton-Jones, Peter

Henderson, Gordon

Herbert, rh Nick

Hinds, rh Damian

Hoare, Simon

Hollingbery, George

Hollinrake, Kevin

Hollobone, Mr Philip

Holloway, Adam

Howell, John

Huddleston, Nigel

Hunt, rh Mr Jeremy

Hurd, rh Mr Nick

Jack, Mr Alister

James, Margot

Javid, rh Sajid

Jayawardena, Mr Ranil

Jenkin, Mr Bernard

Jenkyns, Andrea

Jenrick, Robert

Johnson, rh Boris

Johnson, Dr Caroline

Johnson, Gareth

Johnson, Joseph

Jones, Andrew

Jones, rh Mr David

Jones, Mr Marcus

Kawczynski, Daniel

Keegan, Gillian

Kennedy, Seema

Kerr, Stephen

Knight, rh Sir Greg

Knight, Julian

Kwarteng, Kwasi

Lamont, John

Lancaster, rh Mark

Leadsom, rh Andrea

Lee, Dr Phillip

Lefroy, Jeremy

Leigh, Sir Edward

Letwin, rh Sir Oliver

Lewer, Andrew

Lewis, rh Brandon

Lewis, rh Dr Julian

Liddell-Grainger, Mr Ian

Lidington, rh Mr David

Lopez, Julia

Lopresti, Jack

Lord, Mr Jonathan

Loughton, Tim

Mackinlay, Craig

Maclean, Rachel

Main, Mrs Anne

Mak, Alan

Malthouse, Kit

Mann, Scott

Masterton, Paul

May, rh Mrs Theresa

Maynard, Paul

McLoughlin, rh Sir Patrick

McVey, rh Ms Esther

Menzies, Mark

Mercer, Johnny

Merriman, Huw

Metcalfe, Stephen

Milling, Amanda

Mills, Nigel

Milton, rh Anne

Mitchell, rh Mr Andrew

Moore, Damien

Mordaunt, rh Penny

Morgan, rh Nicky

Morris, Anne Marie

Morris, David

Morris, James

Morton, Wendy

Murray, Mrs Sheryll

Murrison, Dr Andrew

Neill, Robert

Newton, Sarah

Nokes, rh Caroline

Norman, Jesse

O’Brien, Neil

Offord, Dr Matthew

Opperman, Guy

Parish, Neil

Patel, rh Priti

Pawsey, Mark

Penning, rh Sir Mike

Penrose, John

Percy, Andrew

Philp, Chris

Pincher, Christopher

Poulter, Dr Dan

Pow, Rebecca

Prentis, Victoria

Prisk, Mr Mark

Pritchard, Mark

Pursglove, Tom

Quin, Jeremy

Quince, Will

Raab, Dominic

Redwood, rh John

Rees-Mogg, Mr Jacob

Robertson, Mr Laurence

Robinson, Mary

Rosindell, Andrew

Ross, Douglas

Rowley, Lee

Rudd, rh Amber

Rutley, David

Sandbach, Antoinette

Scully, Paul

Seely, Mr Bob

Selous, Andrew

Shapps, rh Grant

Sharma, Alok

Shelbrooke, Alec

Simpson, rh Mr Keith

Skidmore, Chris

Smith, Chloe

Smith, Henry

Smith, rh Julian

Smith, Royston

Soames, rh Sir Nicholas

Soubry, rh Anna

Spelman, rh Dame Caroline

Spencer, Mark

Stephenson, Andrew

Stevenson, John

Stewart, Bob

Stewart, Iain

Stewart, Rory

Streeter, Mr Gary

Stride, rh Mel

Stuart, Graham

Sturdy, Julian

Sunak, Rishi

Swayne, rh Sir Desmond

Swire, rh Sir Hugo

Syms, Sir Robert

Thomas, Derek

Thomson, Ross

Throup, Maggie

Tolhurst, Kelly

Tomlinson, Justin

Tomlinson, Michael

Tracey, Craig

Tredinnick, David

Trevelyan, Mrs Anne-Marie

Truss, rh Elizabeth

Tugendhat, Tom

Vaizey, rh Mr Edward

Vara, Mr Shailesh

Vickers, Martin

Villiers, rh Theresa

Walker, Mr Charles

Walker, Mr Robin

Wallace, rh Mr Ben

Warburton, David

Warman, Matt

Watling, Giles

Whately, Helen

Wheeler, Mrs Heather

Whittaker, Craig

Whittingdale, rh Mr John

Wiggin, Bill

Williamson, rh Gavin

Wollaston, Dr Sarah

Wood, Mike

Wragg, Mr William

Wright, rh Jeremy

Zahawi, Nadhim

Democratic Unionist Party

Campbell, Mr Gregory

Dodds, rh Nigel

Donaldson, rh Sir Jeffrey M.

Girvan, Paul

Paisley, Ian

Robinson, Gavin

Shannon, Jim

Simpson, David

Wilson, rh Sammy

Independent

Elphicke, Charlie

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