ACTIVISTS from Wyre Forest Labour stuck empty paper plates to the windows of Mark Garnier's office in a mark of protest against the MP’s vote not to extend free school meals into the half-term break.

Labour members marched on Mr Garnier's constituency office in Stourport on Tuesday to urge him to change his mind on last Wednesday's vote, which saw 322 MPs reject calls for free school meals to be offered over the holidays until Easter 2021.

Liam Carroll, who attended the protest, said: "We decided to organise this peaceful demonstration to stand in solidarity with those who will be impacted by this decision.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Activists from Wyre Forest Labour at MP Mark Garnier's constituency office on TuesdayActivists from Wyre Forest Labour at MP Mark Garnier's constituency office on Tuesday

"I will keep campaigning for a government U-turn until it happens. Mark Garnier needs to do the right thing and support our plea to ensure that children do not go hungry."

Wyre Forest district councillor Leigh Whitehouse said: “This is about sending a clear message to Mr Garnier that we will not sit back and simply do nothing to hold him to account - he got this wrong.

"We are talking about vulnerable children who need to be fed to thrive, it’s as simple as that - do the right thing and feed them!”

Councillor Whitehouse also posted a paper plate to Conservative councillors at County Hall, urging Worcestershire County Council to step in to ensure poor children are fed.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Wyre Forest district councillor Leigh Whitehouse posted a paper plate to Conservative members at County HallWyre Forest district councillor Leigh Whitehouse posted a paper plate to Conservative members at County Hall

Mr Garnier previously told The Shuttle he felt “confident” vulnerable children are being provided for.

He said: “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 was allocated to Wyre Forest last week.

But speaking on behalf of Wyre Forest Labour, Stephen Brown said: "[Mark Garnier] has no idea of the struggle that the 5,700 kids affected living in the poorest families in Wyre Forest are going through right now.

"He may well fool himself that he’s confident our vulnerable kids are being taken care of, but it’s not the government doing it, it’s local businesses, the foodbanks and others who refuse to stand idly by and allow it to happen."

More businesses across Kidderminster, Bewdley and Stourport have stepped up to back Marcus Rashford's campaign to offer free meals to children in need during the half-term break.

Kidderminster Shuttle: Councillor Leigh Whitehouse at County HallCouncillor Leigh Whitehouse at County Hall

Sami Wright, who runs The Weary Traveller pub in Kidderminster, said: “Once again, as a community, we have completely worked together to make this happen.

"It’s been wonderful seeing families popping in and children walking by to grab lunch bags. It’s amazing and very emotional to think that there are a lot of families struggling at the moment and are to scared to ask for help.”

Other eateries and community groups that have offered free lunches in Wyre Forest include The Mitre Oak, Merchants Bewdley, Mimi's, Catchems End Fish Bar, Riverside Fish Bar, St Peter's Community Church, Wyre Forest Phoenix Football Club, Kidderminster Foodbank, The Bay Horse at Stourport, Norton Fisheries, The Chip Inn, The Toast and Jam Club, Bewdley Museum, Nisa Local and Kirsty Elliott HR and Recruitment Ltd.

Worcestershire County Council has said it will ensure that all vulnerable children in the county will get free meals during the holidays.

Councillor Marcus Hart, cabinet member with responsibility for education, said: “We are working together with councils from across the county to make sure that every vulnerable child in Worcestershire has access to a meal every day during the half term holidays.

"We continue to support the Ready, Steady, Worcestershire initiative which combines the efforts of a range of agencies and food banks that provide a community response to holiday hunger.

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"All district councils are providing welfare support services. Anyone still in need of our help should get in touch with Here2Help Worcestershire on our website or call the hotline on 01905 768053.”

In response to the paper plates protest, Mr Garnier said: "I haven't seen the plates as I understand they contained such profanities as to cause offence to the local community, who took them down.

"I've heard of this, and vandalising MPs' offices across the county, but I hadn't realised it was official Labour Party policy.

"I don't think I'm alone in being sad that Labour, rather than engaging in robust political debate, are reduced to intimidating a local community's elected representatives."