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23 Oct, 2020 13:28

'Putting the government to shame': Marcus Rashford hailed as he pursues free meals for kids despite MPs' refusal to back plan

'Putting the government to shame': Marcus Rashford hailed as he pursues free meals for kids despite MPs' refusal to back plan

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been hailed for highlighting UK resources for free meals for children after members of parliament refused to extend the player's campaign to help end child food poverty.

England international Rashford, 22, has drawn praise from several sectors across the United Kingdom for his campaign to help provide foot and nutrition to to schoolchildren through Easter 2021. 

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A vote in the UK Parliament was backed by opposition party Labour, but Boris Johnson's Conservative government voted down the measure on Wednesday - dealing a blow to Rashford's campaign, but also, he says, to the masses of children across the United Kingdom who will be going hungry and feeling like they have been abandoned by their government officials. 

Rashford, who has spoken of how important free school meals were for him growing up, addressed the matter on social media, saying: "A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter.

"We must stop stigmatising, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity."

Rashford's plea did not fall on deaf ears. By Thursday, dozens of businesses across the United Kingdom had pledged to supply free meals to schoolchildren and provided backing to Rashford's campaign which has been absent from the government, with offers coming in from Bolton, Liverpool, Sheffield, Wigan, Bristol, Manchester, Devon, Nottingham and many more towns and cities across the UK.

Rashford continued his tweeting spree on Friday, identifying several further businesses who are backing the Manchester United man's move. 

He has been widely backed by the footballing community, and the wider community-at-large, for his campaign and was recently awarded an MBE after he was instrumental in forcing a U-turn from the government with regard to free school meal vouchers over the summer.

Rashford, who scored United's Champions League winner away to Paris Saint-Germain this week, was praised by Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer for his dedication to social causes such as this and said that was an example of his maturation as both a player and a man.

"He's now at a stage, we all speak about Marcus as this experienced boy and he's 23 soon," Solksjaer said. "

"He's just between being a talent and being experienced, and you can see more and more of that experience coming out. We hope and we trust that Marcus' background here, background with his family will keep him just developing and kick him on in his career."