Constituents split over Mansfield MP Ben Bradley's response to Marcus Rashford  - and he has now voted against extending free school meals for the vulnerable

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, went viral on Twitter yesterday, October 21, after responding to Marcus Rashford MBE’s pleas to extend free school meals into the holidays by saying it ‘increases dependency’ on the state.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:45 pm

The Mansfield MP has been arguing with Marcus Rashford on social media after the Manchester United and England footballer called for free school meals to be extended into school holidays.

The campaign then became a Labour motion to offer deprived children free school meals during holidays until Easter 2021, which was voted on in Parliament on Wednesday, October 21.

The Conservative took to Twitter yesterday, October 21, to criticise the England footballer once more.

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Ahead of the Parliamentary vote, Marcus Rashford tweeted: “Paying close attention to the Commons today and to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of our most vulnerable children, 2.2M of them who currently qualify for Free School Meals. 42% newly registered. Not to mention the 1.5M children who currently don’t qualify.”

In a tweet that gained a lot of reaction from supporters and critics alike, Ben Bradley replied: “Gov has lots of responsibilities: supporting the vulnerable, helping people to help themselves, balancing the books. Not as simple as you to make out Marcus. Extending FSM (free school meals) to sch hols passes responsibility for feeding kids away from parents, to the State. It increases dependency.”

This is not the first time Ben Bradley MP has commented on Marcus Rashford’s activism, after responding to the footballer’s #ENDCHILDPOVERTY campaign in September by saying, “you don't fix poverty with freebies.”

Now, the Mansfield MP has voted against the Labour motion to extend free school meals, and it was rejected by 321 votes to 261.

In a response to a post by Ben Bradley on Facebook, Mansfield resident Jake Jordon Radford criticised his MP’s stance, saying he would prefer his tax to go to people that ‘are under fed and need it’.

Stephen Kyte, who lives in Mansfield said: “This man does not represent the good, charitable people we know that live in Mansfield.

"To suggest that helping those families struggling with their finances in these difficult times is outrageous; no child should suffer hunger in a compassionate society.

"To suggest that compassion breeds dependency is a vial slur.

Marcus Rashford MBE has been campaigning for free school meals this year.

"Ben Bradley represents an evil, right wing doctrine that sits ill at ease with the good people of Mansfield. It is shameful that our district will be nationally associated with such vile views.”

But Jane Srs agreed with the MP on Facebook and said: “I agree Ben, it doesn't help the problem.

"Let's increase the minimum wage and put a cap on rents so that people can take their wages and feed their kids instead of having to struggle to pay rent with meagre salaries.

"While we're at it, for anyone who's lost their job due to this pandemic / Brexit meaning companies have decided to close in the UK and move abroad, let's tax those earning over £80,000/year more to help fund benefits for those and their children in need. Maybe it will help make up for the funds lost thanks to serco, which essentially did nothing.”

"Extending FSM to sch hols passes responsibility for feeding kids away from parents, to the State. It increases dependency" says Ben Bradley MP for Mansfield.

Lee Anderson, MP for Ashfield, also voted against the motion.

A Conservative MP has since resigned after backing free school meal plan.

Both MPs have been contacted for comment.