Marcus Rashford renews invitation for talks with Government over decision to scrap free school meals during half-term… after Manchester United star led extraordinary public campaign that has blown up on social media
- Sportsmail understands there has not been any Government response as of yet
- Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford still wants to collaborate with ministers
- The House of Commons had voted down a Labour bill supporting his campaign
- The aim this weekend is to champion businesses who are making a difference
Marcus Rashford renewed his invitation to the Government for a meeting on Friday night, as he prepared to take his extraordinary public campaign for an extension of free school meals into this weekend.
Sportsmail understands that there has still been no official response from Government to Rashford’s request to meet him and his child food poverty task force.
But he still wants to collaborate with ministers, despite effectively bypassing the Government on Friday with a social media campaign which exceeded his wildest expectations.
Marcus Rashford has again invited the Government for a meeting about free school meals
Rashford and his mother visited a food charity after MPs voted down his plan to provide free school meals during half-term
After the House of Commons voted down a Labour bill supporting his campaign to extend free school meals into this October half term, he issued a tweet on Thursday night urging local businesses across the country to provide resources instead.
Offers have flooded in from Wigan, Brighton, Middlesbrough, Hackney, Hull, Falmouth, Liverpool and Lincoln and many more, all re-tweeted out to Rashford’s 3.6 million followers.
Sportsmail understands that Rashford is keen to show that there is no North-South divide in the campaign and that ‘we are all in this together.’
The next moves will be discussed on Monday but the aim this weekend is to champion businesses, many themselves struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic, who are making a difference.
On Friday night, Rashford told BBC Newsnight he ‘couldn’t be more proud to call myself British’.
Rashford, who scored the winner in United’s midweek Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain, thanked hundreds of cafes, pubs and restaurants which came forward today to offer half-term food for vulnerable children.
In a statement released to the flagship programme, the ace also responded to criticism of his decision to start the campaign, saying those who wanted to talk about ‘celebrities’ and ‘superstars’ would find them in his Twitter feed.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, the England star said: ‘Growing up we didn’t have a lot, but we always had the safety net of the community. That community was my family.
When we stumbled, we were caught with open arms. Even at their lowest point, having felt the devastating effects of the pandemic, local businesses have wrapped arms around their communities today, catching vulnerable children as they fell.
This week the footballer blasted MPs for rejecting plans to extend free school meals during the Easter holidays, claiming that children ‘will go to bed feeling hungry and worthless’
The campaign has been completely championed by Manchester United footballer Rashford
‘I couldn’t be more proud to call myself British tonight. I am truly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. You want to talk about ‘celebrities’ and ‘superstars’, look no further than my Twitter feed and that’s exactly what you’ll find.’
Some business giants are involved in the campaign, with McDonald’s set to deliver a million meals for children in the next few weeks.
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson backed a campaign to provide free meals to vulnerable children, seeing it pass £35,000.
Councils including Redbridge Borough Council, Southwark Council, Hammersmith and Fulham Council and Liverpool City Council also said they would help out.
Support also came from across the football world, with ex-England striker and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker posting: ‘Well played @MarcusRashford. Check his timeline. Extraordinary from a remarkable young man.’