Manchester United soccer star Marcus Rashford has promised to keep on representing and fighting for vulnerable families as UK parliament members vote against providing free school meals to low-income families over the holidays.
Rashford recently received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list for his efforts campaigning and fundraising for struggling families across the country. However, members of the UK Parliament recently voted down the latest proposal backed by Rashford by a count of 322 to 261. A positive vote would have resulted in the extension of a scheme that provides 1.5 million children with food vouchers during the school holidays until at least Easter next year.
The opposition party, Labour, had called the motion to a vote but it always looked likely to fail as a number of Conservative MPs had expressed their disagreement with a policy and their intentions to vote it down, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Put aside all the noise, the digs, the party politics, and let’s focus on the reality. A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today,” Rashford wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“We must stop stigmatizing, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity.”
Rashford was talking about comments from various members of the Conservative party that criticized the scheme and even suggested that the Manchester United player should stick to football and stay out of politics.
Ben Bradley MP hit out against Rashford’s comments on Twitter and argued that the current government was in fact doing enough for vulnerable families and tweeted “extending freebies are a sticking plaster not a solution.”
“1.5million children have little to no access to food resources due to the 2-child UC cap.
Nobody is pointing fingers, I’m asking we work together to protect our most vulnerable children dealing with the devastating effects of the pandemic. This is nothing to do with politics,” he said.
Meanwhile, Conservative Party MP David Simmonds said that Rashford’s time receiving free school meals had occurred under a Labor government and Brendan Clarke-Smith MP said he opposed the idea of “nationalizing children.”
“Instead, we need to get back to the idea of taking responsibility, and this means less celebrity virtue-signaling on Twitter by proxy and more action to tackle the real causes of child poverty,” said Clarke-Smith.
22-year-old Rashford gathered national support earlier in the year for his initial efforts campaigning to get the school meal holiday scheme up and running. Back then, Rashford spoke of the struggles he, his siblings and his single mother faced growing up and how it would not have been possible without the help provided to him by his community and the government, back then under Labor control.
Rashford’s Twitter post continued:
“Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity. We talk about the devastating impact of COVID-19 but if projections are anything to go by, child food poverty has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced. We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children. No more sticking plasters.
“Let’s face this head on. Let’s level up once and for all. The asks of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce remain the same. We are endorsing government-commissioned policy recommendations that were built from extensive research and data analysis. These policies are vital to stabilizing millions of households across the UK and need to be implemented without delay. Child hunger should never be faced with looming deadlines.”
Rashford, already a superstar for both club and country, has been vocal in his campaigning on social issues but this has not affected his form on the pitch. Although his side has made a slow start to the season, Rashford has been his usual electric self, combining pace with skill and finishing to impress like few others do at his age.
The forward has scored five times in just seven starts so far this campaign.
“I don’t have the education of a politician, many on Twitter have made that clear today, but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected,” Rashford wrote.
“These children matter. These children are the future of this country. They are not just another statistic. And for as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine. You have my word on that.”
Following the vote businesses across the country have offered support in a move that has left Rashford ‘blown away’ at their generosity. Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer praised the ‘great people of this country’ who have stepped in to ‘do the right thing’. Something the UK government have sadly failed to do.