WYRE Forest MP Mark Garnier has been slammed by residents after voting against Labour’s motion to extend free school meals.

On Wednesday evening (October 21), Mr Garnier was one of 322 MPs who voted to reject the motion - which called for free school meals to be offered over the holidays until Easter 2021 - against 261 votes.

On Facebook, Wyre Forest community activist Stephen Brown said MPs, including Mr Garnier, voted to "take the food out of the mouths of kids".

He said: "In the middle of a pandemic, where hundreds of thousands are losing their jobs, and millions of workers are having to survive on 66 per cent of their normal pay, the Tory priority was denying a million of the poorest kids a free school meal in the school holidays."

In response to the vote, Labour councillor Leigh Whitehouse, for Blakebrook & Habberley South, said: “It is a terrible shame our Government are willing to fund 'eat out to help out' but can’t bring themselves to fund the most vulnerable children, living in poverty (around 1,000,000 nationwide & 5,700 here in Wyre Forest) with a decent meal.

"I’m deeply alarmed & disappointed our MP voted against providing our vulnerable, local children with food they need to thrive.

"This isn’t about politics, it isn’t about political point scoring, it’s all about doing the right thing - we are talking about children, many of which go to bed hungry.

"It will now fall to the already struggling local food banks to support them through the winter period."

However, Mr Garnier says he feels "confident" vulnerable families and children are being provided for under a new system.

Mr Garnier told the Shuttle: "The government has put in place a new system to support vulnerable families.

"Emergency provisions have been put in place to supersede the voucher system. I'm confident vulnerable families are being provided for in the wider system.

The MP said £414,000 has been allocated for Wyre Forest this week, as well as a share of funding for Worcestershire.

He added: "We are getting a lot of money coming through - we have got to make sure that money is being delivered."