A council in Boris Johnson’s own constituency has said it will provide free school meals over the half term after Tory MPs voted overwhelmingly against extending the voucher scheme.
In a tweet posted on Friday evening, a spokesperson for Hillingdon Council, which is run by Conservatives and sits inside the PM’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, confirmed the local authority would be supporting children through the school holiday.
They wrote: “Hillingdon Council will be offering free school meals to eligible children during the half-term holiday.
“Full details of the scheme and how to claim will be made available on Monday.”
As the PM, Johnson whipped Tory MPs to block the motion to extend free school meals to more than a million of the country’s poorest pupils, insisting it was not the job of schools to “regularly provide food during the school holidays”.
Downing Street has also repeatedly refused to praise businesses, community groups and councils who have stepped in to ensure children don’t go hungry during the half term.
Asked on thewhether Boris Johnson would praise those firms offering food, a No.10 spokesperson dodged the question and instead told reporters: “We’ve set out our position a number of times. “There’s no change.
“As we have set out before we’re in a different position now with schools back open to all and the vast majority of pupils back in school.
“And I believe the PM said during PMQs free school meals will continue during term time and he wants to continue to support families throughout the crisis and there is cash available to feed kids if they need to.”
Hillingdon Council has joined hundreds of businesses, community organisations and local authorities who have stepped up to provide free meals to children in the absence of government support.
The wave of groups offering to help for free began on Thursday evening when footballer Marcus Rashford, who has spearheaded the campaign to end child hunger, shared the details of participating businesses on his Twitter feed.
The support quickly snowballed, and by Friday evening hundreds of organisations across the country had pledged their support – with Rashford telling BBC Newsnight “I couldn’t be more proud to call myself British tonight.”
An interactive map showing a huge number of partaking businesses and organisation across the country has been set up under the title #AllKidsMatter, with new groups consistently being added as the backlash against the Tory dismissal of the issue continues to grow.