Tory Council Leader Grins While Opening A Food Bank And The Backlash Was Intense

·4-min read
Use of food banks has soared since the pandemic began (Photo: SSAFA via PA Media)
Use of food banks has soared since the pandemic began (Photo: SSAFA via PA Media)

Use of food banks has soared since the pandemic began (Photo: SSAFA via PA Media)

A Tory council leader has faced intense online backlash after he was pictured smiling and laughing while ceremoniously opening a food bank.

Jeremy Kite, the borough council leader for Dartford, was seen in Facebook photos attending the official opening of the borough’s new food bank, cutting a ribbon amid a smiling crowd.

As the cost of living crisis worsens, and millions admit to skipping meals just to pay the bills, the photos have been accused of being completely tone deaf.

The backlash even crept over to LBC radio station, where presenter James O’Brien began to criticise the photo when Kite actually called in on Wednesday morning.

He explained: “I love my town, I love the people in it, I’m trying to do the right thing.

“We were invited yesterday to open - it’s not actually a brand new food bank, it’s a new location where there’s been a lot of work put into it by the volunteers and others. There was actually a bit of a joke just before the ribbon was cut and photographs will tell a snapshot of the moment.”

The joke was allegedly about the countdown. Kite also said the opening ceremony was “thrown by the people who organise and volunteer” in the food bank, who also wanted to put the ribbon in place to honour the occasion.

As O’Brien asked Kite “what the hell” he was thinking, the council leader said as a guest it would have been a “mistake” to turn down the organisers’ photo offer.

The pictures were then deleted from the Mayor of Dartford’s Facebook page following the outcry, but reposted a few hours later with a caption explaining: “There have been a number of comments this morning suggesting that the cutting of a ribbon was inappropriate in those circumstances.

“This aspect of the visit was arranged by the organisers and volunteers and took place at their request.

The council representatives were pleased to meet so many volunteers, organisers and clients of the food bank and wish it well in its new home.”

The comments were limited to the owner of the page, but there were 88 reactions or either the angry or sad face emojis.

Here’s a roundup of some of the most furious responses on Twitter:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.


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