Marcus Rashford’s bid to extend free school meals over the holidays in England was dealt a blow after MPs voted against the measure.
The Manchester United forward urged politicians to “unite” to protect the most vulnerable children and vowed to continue campaigning, writing on Twitter: “For as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine.”
Ever since the Coronavirus pandemic changed the way all of us live our daily lives, Rashford has fought on all fronts for vulnerable children and families because he was one, once upon a time.
His fight helped restore my faith in humanity but it has been knocked back by Tory MPs which none of you will be surprised to hear.
Rashford released a statement after Labour’s motion, which called for the scheme to be extended over school holidays until Easter 2021. Sadly, it was defeated by 261 votes to 322.
Time we worked together. pic.twitter.com/xFPsgBiPQC
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 21, 2020
Downing Street ruled out performing a late U-turn ahead of the vote. Prime Minster Boris Johnson said (via Sky Sports): “We support kids on low incomes in school and we will continue to do so.
“But the most important thing is to keep them in school not tear off into another national lockdown taking them out of school.
“We will continue to use the benefits system and all the systems of incomes to support children throughout the holidays as well.”
In Rashford’s statement, an important line reads that child food poverty “has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced”.
“We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children. No more sticking plasters. Let’s face his head on,” he said.