Tory MP sparks fury after suggesting free school meals cash 'goes to crack dens'

A Conservative MP has been accused of ‘stigmatising working class families’ over controversial tweets about free school meals.

Ben Bradley, elected to become the first Tory MP for Mansfield in 2017, replied to a tweet in which another user described the programme as ‘£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel’.

In a post on Twitter which has since been removed, he wrote: ‘That’s what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did…’

Following Mr Bradley’s tweet, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: ‘A Conservative MP has said that free school meals are effectively a direct payment to brothels and drug dealers. Notwithstanding the fact that the vouchers in summer could only be used to purchase food, this stigmatisation of working class families is disgraceful and disgusting.’

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A screenshot of a since-removed post in her name on Facebook said: ‘I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking any further government support.’

The MP similarly claimed her comments were ‘out of context’ and added: ‘I of course deeply regret any offence which may have been caused.’ has contacted both MP’s for comment.

Footballer Marcus Rashford has praised local communities for stepping in to provide free meals to children during half-term.

The Manchester United and England star, 22, said he is ‘truly overwhelmed’ by the support his campaign has received, after Parliament rejected proposals to provide free meals to vulnerable children during the school holidays.

A vote on the measures was backed by Labour and made its way to Parliament this week but was defeated by 322 votes to 261.

His petition to end child food poverty had gained more than 640,000 signatures by Saturday morning and his campaign has seen businesses and organisations around the country offering free food to those in need.

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