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Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg labelled ‘utterly revolting’ after saying £25,000 Unicef donation for hungry children is ‘playing politics’
Unicef is helping UK children for first time in its history
Rees-Mogg claims donation is ‘a scandal’ as charity should be helping children in poorest countries
Jacob Rees-Mogg has sparked a furious backlash after saying Unicef should be “ashamed” of itself for “playing politics” following a donation to feed UK children over Christmas.
One Labour MP said Rees-Mogg’s words were an “utter disgrace”. Another said they were “utterly revolting”.
Unicef has handed £25,000 to the School Food Matters charity, which will use the money to supply 18,000 breakfast boxes to children and families in Southwark, south London, over the two-week Christmas school holidays.
The food boxes will go to families struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is the first time the charity has helped UK children in its 70-year history.
House of Commons leader Rees-Mogg said it is a “scandal” and “a political stunt of the lowest order” given deprivation in the poorest countries of the world.
Asked by Labour MP Zarah Sultana when Rees-Mogg and his “his super-rich chums” will “pay their fair share” instead of charities, this was his retort:
“I think it is a real scandal that Unicef should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived, countries of the world where people are starving, where there are famines and where there are civil wars – and they make cheap political points of this kind, giving, I think, £25,000 to one council. It is a political stunt of the lowest order.”
Here is one of Coventry South MP Sultana’s many Twitter posts about the exchange.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has doubled-down, now calling UNICEF feeding hungry children in Britain "faffing around".
His net worth is reportedly in excess of £100 million.
He and his party know nothing about the lives of the working class. Utterly revolting. https://t.co/ynoTz054WL
— Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) December 17, 2020
Labour MP Neil Coyle, whose Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency will be benefiting from the donation, posted:
On behalf of the Southwark kids benefiting from UNICEF help in the absence of a Government that even pretends to care, I can say the shame is all his. What an utter disgrace. https://t.co/I4OQFT318Y
— Neil Coyle (@coyleneil) December 17, 2020
Charlotte Nichols, Labour’s shadow women and equalities minister and Warrington North MP, posted:
The only people who should be ashamed are the Government, for the fact there are children going to bed hungry tonight and who would continue to be going to bed hungry were it not for the support of charities like UNICEF. In 2020. In one of the richest countries in the world. https://t.co/hCFBkmC0sq
— Charlotte Nichols (@charlotte2153) December 17, 2020
Stephen Farry, the Alliance Party MP for North Down, wrote:
Disgraceful comment from @Jacob_Rees_Mogg. UNICEF are more than capable of doing two things at once, including responding to situation in Nigeria. Government need to wake up to why UNICEF need to address food poverty in UK. https://t.co/MgeuEKqped
— Stephen Farry MP (@StephenFarryMP) December 17, 2020
Responding to Unicef’s donation on Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s official spokesman had said: “We would point to the substantial action we’ve taken to ensure that children don’t go hungry through the pandemic and I would point to the additional £16 million we pledged not too long ago to food distribution charities.”
Watch: The COVID dos and don’ts of Christmas this year