It is fascinating when dates emerge that relate to history and raise questions for the future. Today is three years since many of us voted for our local MP and then the Conservative Government that was managed by Boris Johnson became significantly strong. Given that he is no longer the Prime Minister and that he claimed that the election enabled all of us to approve him there should now be a General Election. Back at the end of July a petition was published that was written by Darrin Charlesworth with the title of “Call an immediate general election to end the chaos of the current government” and it goes on to state that
so that the people can decide who should lead us through the unprecedented crises threatening the UK. The chaos engulfing the UK government is unprecedented. Over 40 ministers resigned leaving departments without leadership during cost of living, energy and climate crises. War rages in Ukraine; the Northern Ireland Protocol has further damaged our relationship with Europe; recession looms; the UK itself may cease to exist as Scotland seeks independence. This is the greatest set of challenges we have seen in our lifetimes. Let the people decide who leads us through this turmoil.
The petition is still active and it has become the second largest petition in the whole of the petitions that have been occurred in the Parliament system which has nearly 44,000 petitions. It has more than 900,000 signatures which includes more than 33,500 from Sussex. It would be very interesting to ask our local MPs when the next General Election should take place? In the meantime, there are many themes that need to be focused on for our communities. A week ago, I spotted that the during the previous Prime Minister question session, that he was asked to respond to feeding children who are at Schools. He stated “We are supporting almost 2 million children with free school meals.” So in the following week session which was last Wednesday he was asked a question by Ian Byrne who is the Labour MP for Liverpool, West Derby. Part of the question was
Will the Prime Minister meet me to discuss how investment in universal free school meals will benefit children and their families in Liverpool, West Derby and the country, and at no extra cost to the taxpayer?
and the response from the Prime Minister was
I know this is an issue on which the hon. Gentleman has campaigned for some time, and he is right to highlight the importance of making sure that our children have access to food. That is why I am proud that we introduced not just an expansion of free school meals, but the holiday activities and food programme. I am always interested in more ideas of where we can go further, and I look forward to hearing from him.
The only Sussex MP who has spoken about School Meals in Parliament since this Summer is Caroline Lucas, the Brighton Pavilion MP. Back at the end of September she asked
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to provide free school meals to every child up to the age of 16 in state education; and if he will make a statement.
And then again at the end of November she referred to it in a Finance Bill debate. She commented
To put that figure into context, it would be enough to extend free school meals to every child whose family receives universal credit, to pay the annual salaries of more than 14,000 nurses, or to build one new medium-sized hospital.
As it happens on the day before the last Prime Minister question session, the Labour MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana submitted an Early Day Motion which is headed as ”Free School Meals For All campaign” and its content begins with
that 3.9 million children are growing up in poverty and that the cost of living crisis is estimated to push another 500,000 children into poverty; recognises that free school meals ensure millions of children get a hot, healthy meal each day, but that as millions of families struggle with the cost of living crisis..
Given that this was focusing on far more than the call from Rishi Sunak of almost two million we clearly need all of our MPs to endorse Sultana’s call to support more than four million children in our nation. I was delighted that on the same day that Zarah Sultana set out her document, that Caroline Lucas endorsed it. Last Thursday the Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also endorsed it. There are currently 33 MPs who have signed it, let us hope that this week some more Sussex MPs will take the opportunity to sign it for us!