Mansfield MP says his free school meals 'crack den' tweet was 'taken out of context'

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Mansfield MP Ben Bradley has said his free school meals 'crack den' tweet was 'taken out of context' following accusations he was stigmatising working class families.

The Conservative MP had replied to a tweet in which another user had described the free school meals programme as '£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel'.

He then responded with: "That's what FSM vouchers in the summer effectively did..." - the tweet has since been deleted.

Bradley, who was elected to become the first Tory MP for Mansfield in 2017, said giving children who live in 'chaotic' situations an 'unrestricted voucher to spend on whatever isn't helpful'.

But Labour has pointed out the vouchers in summer could only be used to buy food.

It comes after MPs rejected Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford's call to offer free school meals for children during half-term.

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.

The footballer's 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.

Thousands of schoolchildren across the Midlands are set receive free meal vouchers over half term next week.

Councils and businesses across the region are stepping forward to provide free meals.

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