By Rachael Grealish
Workington MP, Mark Jenkinson, has come under backlash for posting a tweet saying a ‘tiny’ number of food parcels are ‘sold or traded for drugs’ in his constituency.
His continued tweet also said: “And that’s parcels, not vouchers – which have greater monetary value.
“As I said, a relatively minuscule number – but we can’t pretend it doesn’t happen. Pretending, to score political points, helps no-one.”
This comes after an argument between Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield, and Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner, where Rayner accused Bradley of insinuating free school meal vouchers are a ‘direct payment to brothels and drug dealers’.
However, Bradley fought back saying Rayner’s comment was ‘nonsense’.
Angela. Please remove this clickbait nonsense. If the context is not clear, I will clarify, but thats 100% NOT what I’ve said. Please don’t drag this debate in to the gutter. What you’ve put here is NOT TRUE. https://t.co/d96A9CiWvM
— Ben Bradley MP (@BBradley_Mans) October 23, 2020
Bradley has since backtracked from his original tweet saying: “Pretty clear that I’m about to get hammered across social media/papers for the crime of a tweet where the context wasn’t as clear as I’d thought it was. Needless to say, I haven’t said what I’m being accused of, nor would I ever. I’m sorry if others get dragged in to the fire.”
Then posted the following tweet:
Jenkinson’s response to the tweets has attracted some backlash, with one person saying: “Mark, please prove this. The way you have spoke, voted and acted recently is completely indefensible.”
Another commented: “So, regardless of the validity of the claim, you believe it is better to starve genuinely deserving children to fight what you call a alleged “tiny minority” of food parcels being traded for drugs? That’s what you think is the correct thing to do? To children? Starve them?”
The Workington Conservative MP recently voted against the opposition motion to continue free school meals over school holidays until Easter 2021.
The Herdwick News approached Jenkinson for a response to his claim, asking if he had a verified source to back up his comment that a small number of food parcels are ‘sold or traded for drugs’ in his constituency.
He responded: “You’ll find all you need on Twitter, the source of all good fake news stories.”
When asking him to elaborate on his source behind this comment he said: “I would make the suggestion that to see the harsh realities of life, virtue-signalling leftists like Angela Rayner and those of her most vile supporters, should leave their bubble and get out into some of our most deprived communities – the communities I grew up in, the communities I spend my time in, the communities that I and my extended family live in.”
Jenkinson has been the MP for Workington since the general election in 2019.
He wasn’t the only Cumbrian MP to vote against the opposition motion – Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Barrow-in-Furness MP, Simon Fell and Carlisle MP John Stevenson all voted against the motion too.
The Conservative MP for Penrith and the Border, Dr Neil Hudson was absent from the vote and Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale voted for the opposition motion.