The letter sent by Tulip Siddiq, the Shadow Children and Early Years Minister, to Amanda Milling, the Conservative Party Chairman, on 24 October 2020.
I am writing regarding a tweet this evening by Conservative Member of Parliament Ben Bradley.
Before the summer, I was delighted when the Conservative Party decided, after representations by campaigners including Marcus Rashford, to U-turn on providing free school meals over summer and agree to fund this crucial support.
The reason why many people were so disappointed this week when Conservative MPs chose to vote to withdraw this support is precisely because we have seen the huge difference it has made throughout this pandemic, when many children have gone without the food they need.
However, in a tweet this evening Mr Bradley appeared to claim that free school meal vouchers “effectively” gave “£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel”.
Notwithstanding the fact that free school meal vouchers could only be redeemed in participating supermarkets for the purchase of food and groceries, I am sure that you will want to make clear that this kind of crass stigmatisation of children from poorer families is deeply damaging, and distance yourself from Mr Bradley’s misleading and troubling comments.
In the meantime, I respectfully ask you to request an apology from Mr Bradley to the millions of children from lower income households who benefit from free school meal support.
I look forward to hearing from you at the earliest possible opportunity.
Tulip Siddiq MP.