Tory MP Suggests Free School Meals 'Effectively' Go To Crack Dens And Brothels

Léonie Chao-Fong
·News reporter, HuffPost UK
·3-min read
On Wednesday, 322 Tory MPs voted against a measure to extend free school meals over the half-term and winter school holidays. (Photo: REUTERS)
On Wednesday, 322 Tory MPs voted against a measure to extend free school meals over the half-term and winter school holidays. (Photo: REUTERS)

A Tory MP has suggested free school meal vouchers for the children in his constituency “effectively” went to crack den and brothel.

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, claimed on Friday evening that one of the kids in his constituency “lives in a crack den” while another “in a brothel” and that extending free school meals would not reach these children.

When one Twitter user responded suggested a ”£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel” could be “the way forward”, the MP said: “Thats what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did.”

The conversation has since been deleted from Twitter, but not before it was screenshotted and met with a backlash on social media.

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayer said the comment was “disgraceful and disgusting”, while Labour MP Jim McMahon said it marked “a new low”.

Bradley later responded to Rayner’s tweet, claiming she had “ignored all context and sense”.

One Labour source told HuffPost UK: “On Wednesday, the Tories were clutching their pearls over ‘unparliamentary language’.

“Tonight, one of their MPs is accusing hungry kids of spending free school meal vouchers on drugs and prostitutes.

“One rule for them, another for everyone else.”

Bradley has been engaged in a public Twitter dispute with the England footballer Marcus Rashford since he and 321 other Tory MPs voted against a motion to extend the free school meals voucher scheme to the half-term and Christmas holidays.

On Wednesday, the MP wrote: ”[Government] 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 [free school meals] to [school holidays] passes responsibility for feeding kids away from parents, to the State. It increases dependency.”

Rashford responded saying: “Ben, the economy already pays a high price for child hunger. If children were fed properly you would increase educational attainment and boost life chances.”

The anti-hunger campaigner later added: “Nobody is pointing fingers, I’m asking we work together to protect our most vulnerable children dealing with the devastating effects of the pandemic.

“This is nothing to do with politics.”

Bradley previously justified his decision to vote against the motion by suggesting extending the scheme would encourage parents to choose not to feed their children.

In 2018, Bradley was forced to apologise for an earlier blog post in which he suggested benefit claimants should have vasectomies.

The 2012 post – which has since been deleted – said: “Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can’t afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free.

“Families who have never worked a day in their lives having four or five kids and the rest of us having one or two means it’s not long before we’re drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!”

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