20 February 2018
Bath Conservative Association has been widely criticised in the press after being questioned by Bath's Green Party candidate on Saturday [17th March].
Dom Tristram, the Green Party candidate for Bath, saw the Bath Conservatives question, via their official Twitter account, whether it was right that "the state take on the job" of feeding hungry children via free schools meals, and asked them whether they should be more concerned about rising child poverty levels rather than criticising efforts to make sure hungry children are fed.
"They were basically suggesting that the state should not be ensuring that children at school aren't hungry", Dom Tristram explained, "with the implication being that it was the fault of parents rather than government policy. It was when I pressed them further on this that they stated that the parents 'may be indolent or dysfunctional', which subsequently shocked so many people. They used Jack Monroe as an example of a parent who coped with little money, and unwisely tagged her in their comment."
The well-known food author Jack Monroe was outraged to be used to support the argument that it’s possible to feed a family for ten pounds a week. Her ensuing response and hundreds of messages of support forced the Conservatives to delete their statement.
Dom Tristram said, "I'm glad that my questioning revealed the unpleasant beliefs of at least one senior officer in the local Conservative Association. I take my role of holding the governing party to account, both nationally and here in Bath, very seriously. With local elections approaching it is important for people to see how the parties they can vote for really think."
He continued, "We have increasing child poverty in Bath, with levels as high as 36.5% in some wards. Blaming lazy parents for kids arriving hungry at school, while ignoring the effect of their own policies on the most disadvantaged, shows how little they consider the lives of the many who are barely coping financially. Using a well-known campaigner against food poverty to try to justify cutting free school meals shows just how out of touch our local Conservatives are."
By Tuesday [20th March] the story had been covered widely both regionally and nationally and was the second most read story on the BBC Web site.
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