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UK News Tory MP and husband of Test and Trace boss blames 'chaotic parents' in free school meals row

01:40  28 october  2020
01:40  28 october  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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Tory MPs threaten to join Labour bid to force U-turn on free school meals as they warn PM has 'misunderstood the public mood' - while Children's Commissioner likens row to 'Oliver Twist novel'. Boris Johnson faces growing Tory revolt on government free school meals policy.

Second Tory MP stokes free school meals fury: Selaine Saxby hints firms giving food to children should NOT get government help after Ben Labour stepped up the pressure on the Government over free school meals , warning it will stage a fresh Commons vote if ministers do not relent in time for

John Penrose et al. looking at the camera: John Penrose said the reaction to his comments reflected the 'anti-Tory prejudices of a couple of local Labour activists' © PA John Penrose said the reaction to his comments reflected the 'anti-Tory prejudices of a couple of local Labour activists'

The Tory MP husband of embattled coronavirus Test and Trace boss Dido Harding has been condemned by Labour after criticising "chaotic parents" in the row over Marcus Rashford's free school meals campaign.

Former minister John Penrose, a millionaire publisher, made the comment in a letter to a constituent who asked him why he voted in the Commons against a Labour motion to extend free school meals to holiday periods.

In his reply, Mr Penrose suggested the Manchester United and England footballer and his backers in the Labour Party were proposing "sticking plaster solutions" which "increase dependency", the Daily Mirror reported.

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A second Tory MP has been dragged into an escalating row over the provision of free school meals during the holidays, after the government refused to extend the programme for pupils at risk of going hungry over the half-term break. Conservative Selaine Saxby was forced to clarify her comments on

The Children's Commissioner for England has likened the Government's refusal to extend free school meals for disadvantaged children over the holidays to something from the pages of Oliver Twist. © Provided by Evening Standard Anne Longfield called for the two sides should come together

Dido Harding wearing a blue shirt: Baroness Dido Harding has been criticised after the Test and Trace system missed targets © PA Baroness Dido Harding has been criticised after the Test and Trace system missed targets

And the MP wrote: "Practical measures which make a genuine difference to the causes of poverty include things like the Pupil Premium, which gives schools extra funding for disadvantaged pupils; breakfast clubs, which help children with chaotic parents who send them to school without breakfast so they can't concentrate properly."

Marcus Rashford standing on a stage: Rashford has been leading a push to get free meals extended to all school holidays © Imagebridge Rashford has been leading a push to get free meals extended to all school holidays

His remarks were condemned by Labour's shadow education secretary, Kate Green, who said: "It is completely unacceptable for a Conservative MP to blame parents for the challenges created by his own government's chronic incompetence.

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'The decision not to extend free school meals is the clearest sign yet that the Conservatives have the wrong priorities and are not on the side of British families.' Warrington council will receive a financial support package of £1.68 million to help contact- tracing and enforcement, as well as £4.2 million in

6) Anita’s parents are planning an __ for her. They have found her the perfect husband . 7) With five children, there is never a __ in the Brady house. They have found her the perfect husband . – Родители Аниты планируют организованный брак для нее. Они нашли для нее отличного мужа.

"Children are at risk of going hungry because of a decade of stagnant wages and cuts to social security.

"Not only have the Conservatives voted against helping these children, they are now blaming their parents. It is not too late to do the right thing and extend free school meals over Christmas."

Shadow health minister Justin Madders said of Mr Penrose: "He ought to look at the management of Test and Trace if he wants to know what chaotic really is."

Mr Penrose, 56, was contacted by Sky News but did not respond.

But he told the Daily Mirror: "I'm afraid this says more about the small anti-Tory prejudices of a couple of local Labour activists than about what's really in my letter, which is clearly about how breakfast clubs can be a valuable way of dealing with one of the causes of poverty, not about everybody else who uses breakfast clubs too."

MP for the seaside resort constituency of Weston-Super-Mare since 2005, Mr Penrose held ministerial posts under David Cameron and Theresa May.

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  Paediatricians: Childhood hunger is an issue that should transcend politics Pressure is growing on Boris Johnson to change course after MPs rejected a bid to extend free school meals over the holidays.Members of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said they are shocked by the Government’s “refusal” to do so, and praised footballer Marcus Rashford for his “powerful campaigning” on the issue.

Tory MP Adam Holloway was one of the latest MPs to go public with his letter of no confidence, posting on He said that Dominic Raab should not be blamed for the deal negotiated with Brussels, as it was clear that the Tory MP and Brexiteer Nadine Dorries said she 'absolutely' believes Graham Brady

After being accused of 'McCarthy-style' probe into universities now a Tory MP faces official standards Tory Chris Heaton-Harris embroiled in a row after sending a letter to universities Daventry MP has been accused of 'idiotic Leninism' and a 'McCarthy-style' plot writing: 'To be absolutely clear, I believe in free speech in our universities and in having an

He was minister for tourism and then constitutional reform under Mr Cameron and then a Northern Ireland minister under Mrs May. He voted Remain and backed Jeremy Hunt for Tory leader last year.

His wife, Tory peer Baroness Harding, is the beleaguered boss of Test and Trace, who was urged to quit last weekend by the senior Tory MP and leading Boris Johnson ally Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the powerful Liaison Committee of MPs.

Denouncing a "vacuum of leadership" in Test and Trace, Sir Bernard wrote in The Sunday Telegraph: "Dido Harding, head of NHS Test and Trace, apparently says that she is struggling with what she inherited when arriving in the role, but during the summer, initial urgency subsided.

"Perhaps some of those exhausted leaders on the government frontline, like Dido Harding, could be given a well-earned break too; they could use their hard-won experience to help this group reflect on the lessons learned so far."

Sir Bernard's call came after the faltering Test and Trace system was publicly criticised by Mr Johnson and the chief scientific adviser for England, Sir Patrick Vallance, during a Downing Street news conference last week.

The prime minister said: "I share people's frustrations and I understand totally why we do need to see faster turnaround times and we need to improve it."

At the same news conference, Sir Patrick said: "It's very clear there's room for improvement on all of that and therefore that would be diminishing the effectiveness of this."

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