No U-turn on free school meals in the holidays, says Brandon Lewis

Defending one of the many controversial decisions as of late, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis says there won’t be a U-turn or change of policy on providing free school meals in the holidays in England.

Mr Lewis said the Government had increased Universal Credit and was providing £63 million to local authorities to help people in their communities at a time of hardship.

He told Andrew Marr on Sunday: “I congratulate, I thank” local enterprises to stepping and providing meals for children this holiday.

“But I think this is complimentary to what local authorities are doing”.

Boris Johnson is facing a growing backbench revolt over free school meals, as a Government minister was forced to defend the position.

Sir Bernard Jenkin became the latest high profile Tory MP to criticise the handling of the issue, saying the Government had “misunderstood” the mood of the country.

The Government is resisting demands led by footballer Marcus Rashford to extend free meals into the school holidays during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Sir Bernard, the Chair of the Commons’ powerful Liaison Committee, said: “I think we have to admit that we have misunderstood the mood of the country here.

“The public want to see the Government taking a national lead on this. I think the Government will probably have to think again on that, particularly if there’s going to be more votes in the House of Commons.”

The Government extended free school meals to eligible children during the Easter holidays earlier this year.

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