Friday 23 October 2020 / 8:29 PM Tulip Siddiq

Conservative MP must apologise for ‘crass stigmatisation’ of children

Labour have today called for the Conservative Party to distance itself from comments made by Conservative MP Ben Bradley, and demanded an immediate apology.

Tulip Siddiq, Labour’s Shadow Children and Early Years Minister, condemned the comments as “crass stigmatisation” of the 1.4 million children who benefit from free school meals..

Writing to Conservative Party Chair Amanda Milling, Tulip called for the Conservative Party to distance itself from Ben Bradley’s remarks and to request an apology from him.

Bradley tweeted today, Friday 23rd, that the free school meal vouchers provided over the summer amounted to money going ‘direct to a crack den and a brothel.’

In response to a tweet which called the programme “£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel”, Mr Bradley said “Thats what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did…”

Ben Bradley was one of over 300 Conservative MPs to vote against a Labour motion that called for free school meals to be extended over the school holidays until Easter 2021.

Tulip Siddiq’s letter reads…

Dear Amanda

I am writing regarding a tweet this evening by Conservative Member of Parliament Ben Bradley.

Before the summer, I was delighted when the Conservative Party decided, after representations by campaigners including Marcus Rashford, to U-turn on providing free school meals over summer and agree to fund this crucial support.

The reason why many people were so disappointed this week when Conservative MPs chose to vote to withdraw this support is precisely because we have seen the huge difference it has made throughout this pandemic, when many children have gone without the food they need.

However, in a tweet this evening Mr Bradley appeared to claim that free school meal vouchers “effectively” gave “£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel”.

Notwithstanding the fact that free school meal vouchers could only be redeemed in participating supermarkets for the purchase of food and groceries, I am sure that you will want to make clear that this kind of crass stigmatisation of children from poorer families is deeply damaging, and distance yourself from Mr Bradley’s misleading and troubling comments.

In the meantime, I respectfully ask you to request an apology from Mr Bradley to the millions of children from lower income households who benefit from free school meal support.

I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible opportunity.

Yours sincerely,

Tulip Siddiq MP