CAMPAIGNERS in Weymouth are protesting over a vote by Conservative MPs to end free school meals during holidays.

Dorset’s Low Pay - No Way! group and other organisations have been placing empty paper plates at the doorstep of Weymouth’s Conservative Club on Dorchester Rd today to symbolise children going hungry.

As reported, last week, 322 Conservative MPs voted against a motion calling for the free school meal voucher scheme to be extended over holidays until Easter 2021.

One of those was South Dorset's Richard Drax MP, while West Dorset's MP Chris Loder also voted against the motion, which was put forward by the Labour Party and driven by footballer Marcus Rashford.

In reaction, representatives from 'Low Way - No Pay!' said that Mr Drax's constituency includes some of the poorest areas in the UK, with almost half of all jobs paid at or below the minimum wage and more than a third of children living in poverty.

Speaking for Low Pay - No Way! Jenny Lennon-Wood decried the vote as 'despicable'.

She said: "We want to urge Mr Drax to change his mind. His vote to deny poor children nourishing food was despicable, particularly at a time when many more families are vulnerable to redundancies and poverty pay as a result of the Covid crisis.

“The decision not to extend free school meals through the Christmas holidays was taken by well-paid MPs whose House of Commons meals are subsidised by taxpayers.

"The majority of children receiving free school meals have hard-working parents in such poorly paid jobs that they struggle to make ends meet.”