Tuesday 20 October 2020 / 6:00 AM Kate Green / Youth

Labour forces parliamentary vote on free school meals after government refuses to change course

Labour will force a vote in Parliament on plans to extend free school meals over the school holidays, after the Government refused to extend support to more than 1.4 million children in the October half term.

On Saturday, Labour called for the Prime Minister to change course and provide free school meals to all eligible children during the holidays – warning that if he did not do so a vote would be forced in Parliament. The decision came after the Prime Minister’s spokesperson rejected the call of campaigners, including Marcus Rashford.

Now, Labour has confirmed that tomorrow (Wednesday 21 October) there will be a vote in Parliament on this issue led by deputy leader Angela Rayner MP.

Labour has tabled a motion on which all MPs can vote to support or oppose the extension of free school meals. The motion calls on the Government to continue directly funding provision of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021 to prevent over a million children going hungry during the coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday, Tulip Siddiq MP, Labour’s shadow minister for children and early years, wrote to all Conservative backbench MPs, asking them to support Labour’s proposals.

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said: 

“Over a million children are at risk of going hungry over the holidays without access to free school meals. It is essential the Government provides this support urgently.

“We gave the Prime Minister the chance to change course, but he refused to do so. Now his MPs must decide if they want to vote for their constituents to get this vital support or if they will leave families struggling to put food on the table.”