Deputy Labor leader Angela Rayner has poked fun at the ‘disgraceful’ comments made by Conservative MP Lee Anderson, suggesting that people relying on foodbanks could ‘make a meal for about 30p a day’, tweeting that he would be eating a packet of Space Raiders crisps for dinner.
The Ashton-under-Lyne MP, who has remained outspoken about her background and growing up in poverty, took to Twitter on Thursday evening, where she penned: “What’s Lee Anderson cooking tonight?” followed by a packet of 30p Space Raiders.
It comes after opposition MP Lee Anderson faced calls to apologise on Thursday, after he suggested people in the UK use food banks because they ‘cannot cook properly’ and ‘cannot budget’. He invited ‘everybody’ on the opposition benches in the House of Commons to visit a food bank in Ashfield, where, when people come for a food parcel, they now need to register for a ‘budgeting course’ and a ‘cooking course’.
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When asked by a Labor MP if it should be necessary to have food banks in 21st century Britain, Mr Anderson said there is not “this massive use for food banks” in the UK, but “generation after generation who cannot cook properly” and “ cannot budget”. On Thursday evening, Rayner’s comedic tweet quickly picked up traction, with thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets.
His comments, which came during the second day of the Queen’s Speech debate in the Commons, have been harshly criticized, with some urging the Ashfield MP to apologise. Labor branded his remarks “beyond belief”, whilst the Liberal Democrats described them as “disgraceful” and the SNP said they were “crass”.
And the Trades Union Congress insisted the comments showed “how out of touch Conservative MPs and ministers are with the cost of living emergency” as the Trussell Trust charity insisted “cooking meals from scratch won’t help families keep the lights on or put food on the table, if they don’t have enough money in their pockets”.
Mr Anderson said: “My invitation is to everybody on that side of the House, come to Ashfield and work with me for a day in my food bank and see the brilliant scheme we have got in place where when people come now, for a food parcel, they have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course.
“And what we do in the food bank, we show them how to cook cheap and nutritious meals on a budget. We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day.”
Responding to Mr Anderson’s food banks comments, shadow work and pensions minister, Karen Buck, said: “In the world where people actually live, we now hear daily stories of families going without food and others unable to turn their ovens on in fear of rising energy bills.
“The idea that the problem is cooking skills and not 12 years of Government decisions that are pushing people into extreme poverty is beyond belief. Out of touch doesn’t even cover it.”