A Tory MP received a furious response today after suggesting struggling Britons use food banks only because they “cannot cook from scratch” and “cannot budget”.
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson caused a stir for claiming there was ‘not such massive use for food banks’ in Britain.
He also offered an invitation to opposition MPs to visit a scheme in his own constituency that represented “a real food bank” and allowed people to “make a meal for about 30 cents a day.”
Mr Anderson, a former Labor councilor who defected to the Conservatives ahead of his election to parliament in 2019, immediately faced anger in the House of Commons.
He was berated for his “brutal and cruel” comments as Britons across the country face a cost of living crisis due to rising prices.
Anderson, who earns £84,144 a year as an MP, sparked the spat when he spoke in a House debate over the Queen’s speech.
Ashfield MP Lee Anderson caused a stir for claiming there was ‘not this massive use for food banks’ in Britain
The former Labor councilor defected to the Tories ahead of his 2019 election to parliament as part of Boris Johnson’s 80-seat majority
Addressing MPs on the opposition benches, he urged them to “come to Ashfield and spend a day working with me in my food bank and see the brilliant plan we’ve put in place where people who come now for a food package, have to register for a budgeting course and a cooking course’.
“What we do in the food bank, we show them how to cook cheaply and nutritiously on a budget,” he added.
‘We can make a meal for about 30 pence a day. And this is cooking from scratch.”
Labor MP Alex Cunningham intervened to ask Mr Anderson if he felt it was ‘necessary to have food banks in 21st century Britain’.
Mr Anderson replied: ‘He makes a good point and this is exactly my point.
“So I personally invite you to come to Ashfield, look at our food bank, how it works and I think you’ll see first hand that there’s not such massive use for food banks in this country.
“But generation after generation that can’t cook well, they can’t cook from scratch. They cannot budget. The challenge is there.
‘Come on. I offer everyone.’
SNP MP Joanna Cherry told Mr Anderson food banks were needed ‘because we have poverty in this country on a scale that should shame his government’
A former miner and former Labor member with a history of controversy
Lee Anderson is a former miner, former Labor councilor and a committed Brexiteer.
The 55-year-old describes himself as ‘born and raised’ in Ashfield, the Nottinghamshire constituency he now represents in the House of Commons.
After leaving school, he followed his coal miner father into the pits, where he worked for 10 years.
According to a biography on his website, Mr. Anderson then volunteered at a local Citizens Advice Bureau, worked in hostels for homeless care leavers and took a job in the office of a local MP.
He also became a local Labor councilor after being a lifelong party member.
A 2018 local newspaper report describes how Mr Anderson was subjected to an investigation by his fellow Labor councillors.
It came after he received a community protection warning after he placed boulders to deter travelers from setting up camp at a local site.
Anderson soon defected to the Tories and was later elected a Conservative councillor.
Not long after, he was elected to parliament in 2019 as the MP for Ashfield as part of Boris Johnson’s 80-seat Tory majority.
His Westminster election campaign sparked a riot after he claimed that ‘nuisance’ tenants of the borough should be forced to live in tents and pick vegetables.
It led to accusations that he promoted “forced labor camps.”
Anderson was also criticized after he was caught knocking on the door while recruiting.
It was revealed that he had told a householder prior to his visit, “Show that you know who I am, that you know I am the candidate, but not that you are a friend.”
After joining the Commons, Anderson made headlines again when he announced that he would not be watching England’s games during the Euro 2020 football tournament.
He explained that this was due to players getting on their knees before the games in an anti-racism gesture.
The MP expressed his opposition to the gesture’s association with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Last December, Mr Anderson was one of the Tory rebels who voted against Covid restrictions ‘Plan B’.
Noting the reaction of other MPs to his comments, Mr Anderson added: ‘You sit there with a glassy expression on your face and it looks like I’ve landed from another planet.
“Come, come to Ashfield, come next week, come the week after, come to a real food bank that really makes a difference in people’s lives.”
The charity Trussell Trust operates more than 1,400 food bank centers in the UK.
There are also an estimated 1,200 independent food banks, in addition to those run by the Trussell Trust, the Salvation Army and those in schools.
In a direct response to Mr Anderson’s comments in the House of Commons, Joanna Cherry of the SNP said: ‘We all have food banks in our constituency.
“We don’t really need to visit his, for we know full well that there is a need.
“But the requirement for them isn’t because people don’t know how to cook, it’s because we have poverty in this country on a scale that should be ashamed of its government.”
Karen Buck, Labor Secretary of State for Shadow Work and Pensions, said: ‘In the world where people actually live, we now hear daily stories of families running out of food and others unable to turn on their ovens for fear of rising energy bills.
“The idea that the problem is cooking skills and not 12 years of government decisions pushing people into extreme poverty is incredible.
“Out of contact doesn’t even cover it.”
Labor MP Yasmin Qureshi also attacked Anderson’s “astonishing” comments.
She posted on Twitter: ‘A truly amazing comment from someone who represents an area with nearly 30% of children living in poverty.
“Looks like he has no idea what life is like on the ground for so many of his constituents.”
Fellow MP Angela Eagle said Mr Anderson’s comments were “crude and cruel in equal measure.”
But fellow Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith defended his party colleague, insisting that Mr Anderson was “absolutely perfect”.
Mr. Clarke-Smith also highlighted a newspaper article from last year describing how he and Mr. Anderson had previously promoted the efforts of a food bank to show how it was possible to feed a family of five for seven days. for £50.24.
The Sunday Express article quoted Mr Anderson as saying that he had no pretensions to be a ‘great cook’ but that he doesn’t mind ‘a little plodding’.
He added: ‘I was a single parent for about 17 years – I had two boys living with me, so you learn how to cook cheaply, you learn how to cook tasty meals and I enjoyed doing it.
‘This is about tackling food poverty. It’s about people who eat nutritious food.
“It’s also about tackling obesity. If you eat nutritious food, there is a good chance that you will not become overweight.’
Last summer, Mr Anderson refused to watch England’s games at Euro 2020 in protest at the men’s national football team who knelt before the games in an anti-racist stance.
The MP criticized the gesture’s association with the Black Lives Matter political movement.
Source: New feed