Boris Johnson pledged not a sausage to Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign – even though his own advisers backed the footballer.
The Prime Minister was pictured dishing out a sandwich packed with bangers on a hospital visit. But he refused to offer so much as a crust to Britain’s poorest children.
Eton-educated Boris did not budge on his resistance to the Manchester United and England striker’s campaign to extend free school meals to youngsters during the holidays.
That is despite his Government’s own advisory committee on social mobility backing Rashford’s mission.
In a statement the Social Mobility Commission urged the Government to “extend free school meals during holidays until Covid restrictions are lifted as part of a wider move to combat food poverty”.
It continued: “We know that the pandemic is having its greatest impact on the poorest regions in Britain where people are already struggling to afford food for their families.”
The commission said the government should “do all it can” to reverse a rise in child poverty. “It should begin by ensuring all children are properly fed,’’ it said. “But it needs to go much further.
“We now need a much more ambitious programme to combat child poverty.’’
The free school meals extension was rejected by MPs in a controversial vote in Parliament last week.
Since then hundreds of businesses and several local authorities have stepped in to offer free meals to youngsters during half-term.
Today, the PM faced more embarrassment as Rashford, 22, called out government claims the pair had been in recent touch over the footballer’s plan.
Health secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast there “has been communication between the two”.
The PM later admitted their last discussion was four months ago – prompting a series of mocking messages from members of the public accusing the government of distorting the facts.
Without committing to supporting Rashford’s plan, Mr Johnson insisted no children would go hungry due to “inattention” by his government.
He hinted he would provide extra support promising to do “everything in our power” to tackle holiday hunger over the winter.
Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Reading, Berkshire, he said: “We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this government.
“And you are not going to see that.’’
The Prime Minister admitted he had not spoken to Rashford since June but said: “What he is doing is terrific.”
He added: “We support the local councils – indeed we fund the local councils and many of the organisations that are helping in this period.
“But we are also uplifting Universal Credit by £1,000 and we think that is one of the best ways you can help families in this tough time.
“I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger. We have to deal with it. The debate is how do you deal with it.
“Universal Credit had been increased by £20 a week while £63million has already been provided by central Government to local authorities to support them."
Meanwhile, nearly a million people want MPs who opposed Rashford’s free school meal plan to lose their own cheap lunches.
Dozens have been signing an online petition every minute demanding politicians should pay “market rates” for subsidised Commons grub.
It came after your Daily Star revealed taxpayers paid £2.6million so MPs could enjoy cheap meals and budget booze last year – including a luxury menu, right.
Our revelation came after MPs rejected Rashford’s campaign to extend free meals to youngsters throughout the school holidays by 322 votes to 261. Portia Lawrie said she launched a petition on website 38 Degrees.
She was angered by the “clear hypocrisy” of politicians denying support to those most in need of it while tucking into subsidised food themselves.
Portia said: “Hundreds of thousands of people threw their support behind it in less than 24 hours.
“It’s unfair that the Government is refusing to use our money for one of the most basic responsibilities of a compassionate society – feeding hungry children.”