There’s nothing quite like an unpopular political decision to bring people together, and right now across the UK people are uniting against the government’s refusal to extend free school meal provisions over half-term.
For the most part this has prompted communities, organisations and establishments to offer free breakfasts, sandwiches and lunch bags to struggling children which is absolutely glorious.
There is a slightly angrier edge to the backlash, however, as a number of cafes, shops and even a rock band have declared their local Tory MP persona non grata.
Here’s a rundown of those affected so far...
The Mill pub and its restaurant Il Mulino in North Yorkshire’s Stokesley banned entry to the chancellor and three northern Tory MPs – Jacob Young, Simon Clarke and Matt Vickers – after they voted down a motion to end holiday hunger amid the pandemic this winter.
A statement on the Facebook page for The Mill, which is in Sunak’s Richmond (Yorks) constituency, called the vote “disgusting”, and included an image of the House of Commons canteen menu, where prices are subsidised by the taxpayer.
It reads: “Don’t usually do politics but here goes. I have never known a government which is consistently the wrong end of every argument.
“Forget the poor handling of Covid for a minute and concentrate on what happened yesterday.
“The government voted against extending free school meals. This is disgusting! What’s worse Matt Vickers MP, Simon Clarke MP & Jacob Young - MP for Redcar & Cleveland, & Rishi Sunak all voted against the scheme. DISGUSTING!
“All 4 are now barred from The Mil l & Il Mulino for life. I don’t want their business.
“Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday next week I will deliver 100 freshly cooked healthy meals to three separate food banks in the Middlesbrough area.
While the Tory party as a whole are causing quite the furore over free school meals, one or two have gone above and beyond and created their own individual full-scale PR disasters.
Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, claimed suggested free school meal vouchers for the children in his constituency “effectively” went to crack dens and brothels.
The conversation has since been deleted from Twitter, but not before it was screenshotted and met with a backlash on social media.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayer said the comment was “disgraceful and disgusting”, while Labour MP Jim McMahon said it marked “a new low”.
Bradley later responded to Rayner’s tweet, claiming she had “ignored all context and sense”.
Now it is not known if Bradley is a fan of Ferocious Dog ( a “full-on six-piece sound that encompasses folk infused with rock, reggae and Celtic vibrations” fyi), but if he is then he won’t be seeing them live on their planned 2021 tour.
In an angry Facebook post, the group said: “Ben Bradley MP is barred from coming to any of our gigs for voting to starve children!”
Of course the other Tory MP creating much drama for themselves is Selaine Saxby who over the weekend said she “very much” hopes businesses offering to feed hungry children for free “will not be seeking any further government support”.
Remarkably, she doesn’t appear to have been banned from anywhere yet, but this could change.
Double’s options for a flat white in his constituency of St Austell and Newquay were restricted over the weekend when two cafes banned him from their premises.
Boris Johnson has said exercise is key this winter in combatting obesity which can greatly increase your risk of serious illness if you contract Covid-19.
Hopefully the MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale took heed of this advice way back in the summer as his local running shop has made obtaining a nice new pair of running shoes that bit more difficult.
In a “POLITE NOTICE” posted in their shop window, Runners Centre in Lancaster wrote: “David Morris MP is barred from entering this store for voting to starve children...”
It ends: “Thatcher starved the miners. Morris starving the minors.”
Stephen Crabb and Simon Hart
The Globe pub in Fishguard, Wales, announced it was baring Pembrokeshire’s two MPs from entering for life after they voted to “allow children to starve”.
Crabb, MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, had abstained on the vote while Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire MP, Hart, had voted against the measure.
Later, the pub wrote it had been “totally unprepared” and “overwhelmed” by public response.
“Anyone who actively or passively enables children to go hungry cannot possibly possess any humanity in our opinion,” it said.
“Here in the Globe we only allow humans and dogs to enter the premises; as Mr Crabb and Mr Hart appear to be neither of these then we feel we have no option but to impose a lifetime ban.”
Meanwhile, the architect of the push to feed school children, Marcus Rashford, has denied claims he has been in contact with Boris Johnson over the recent campaign.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, told BBC Breakfast on Monday morning there “has been communication” between the footballer and the prime minister.
But the Manchester United and England star said he had not spoken to Johnson since June, and the PM confirmed as much later in the day.
Dozens of people from a range of organisations, including Conservative-led councils, have stepped in to help.