Demonstrators hold 'empty plate' protest outside Conservative MP's office

Protestors held a demonstration outside an MP’s office in response to the free school meals controversy.

Monday, 2nd November 2020, 3:46 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd November 2020, 3:50 pm

Protestors held a demonstration outside an MP’s office in response to the free school meals controversy.

Campaigners visited the office of Leigh MP James Grundy and Pemberton Conservative Club over the weekend, as part of the People Before Profit movement.

The demonstrators laid empty plates outside both venues, a symbolic move that has been replicated across the country outside the offices of Tory MPs, by those angered by the Government’s decision not to offer free school meals outside of term time.

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Demonstrators hold 'empty plate' protest outside Conservative MP's office

Mr Grundy was one of the MPs to vote down the measures, as did Chris Green, the MP for Bolton West and Atherton.

One of the campaigners, Dave Hitchen, said: “In a country that rates eighth in the world for military spending, we find that cutting free school meals during a pandemic, impoverishing working class children, is totally unacceptable and shows the callous attitude of the current government towards its own citizens.

“After 10 years of austerity we do not agree that normal people should be the ones to suffer, especially children. We are calling for this government to reverse its decision to end free school meals and many similar protests have been held outside Conservative MPs offices around the country.”

He went on: “Over four million children live in poverty in the UK. Around nine children in every class of 30 live in poverty. There has been a 107 per cent increase in emergency food for children. Child poverty in Wigan increased from 17541 (29.1 per cent) in 2014 to 18780 (30.8 per cent) in 2018/19, and is now even higher due to COVID-19.

Leigh MP James Grundy. Image: Parliament.uk

“The protests have been supported by trade unions and a representative attended who spoke on behalf of the local unison branch. Social distancing was maintained throughout both protests, excluding those that attended from the same household.”

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Empty plates outside James Grundy's office
Demonstrators hold 'empty plate' protest outside Conservative MP's office
Demonstration outside James Grundy MP's office
Demonstration outside Pemberton Conservative Club