I live in Sevenoaks, a constituency represented by Laura Trott, a Conservative MP. She is a woman with an impressive CV, formerly David Cameron’s Head of Strategic Communications. I first wrote to her in May after she failed to call for any action against Dominic Cummings.
UPDATE: Today, 8th November, the Conservative government performed yet another u-turn (BBC report here) on this issue, creating a £400m fund to support families through 2021. This despite Ms Trott’s insistence failure to challenge them, and her insistence to us, her constituents, in her newsletter and on Facebook that there was no problem.
Dear Ms Trott
I last wrote to you on May 31st, in the midst of the Dominic Cummings controversy. Now I am writing to you about #ENDCHILDFOODPOVERTY.
On Thursday you voted against extending free school meals through this immediate half term and the upcoming Christmas holidays, in the midst of a pandemic that your government has failed to contain.
Against giving families some confidence in their Christmas.
Against feeding hungry children.
When just a few weeks ago, your government gave millions of people £10 off at restaurants and pubs in order to stimulate them to Eat Out To Help Out.
When, according to the End Child Poverty campaign website, there are four thousand, four hundred and twenty three children living in poverty in our constituency alone. Read those words slowly please, and allow every syllable to register. Because they represent children’s lives.
When over the summer, your government itself accepted that extending free school meals over the holidays was a necessary step in the current circumstances.
On your Facebook page, you peddle your government’s line that Universal Credit means there is no problem to solve. This is a scheme which a parliamentary report found at the end of July already to be “failing millions of people.”
In a subsequent post, you complain of the response. I am sorry that you are receiving abuse, and I will not sink so low as to add to it.
However, you know full well that with our politics as it is, only you and a hundred or so fellow Conservative MPs have real, meaningful power in our country. If you as a backbencher turn against them, they will change. If you toe the line, they will continue.
Five of your fellow Conservative MPs voted against the government. You would not even have had to stand alone.
With great power comes great responsibility. You have failed in that responsibility.
When I wrote to you in May, I did so as someone with the same professional background as you: a strategic communications specialist, essentially an applied psychologist. As I wrote then, you know that symbolic actions matter.
What this action now tells us, your constituents, is that you do not care. That you will stand up for no one, not even the poorest children in the country. That your own ambition within the Conservative Party matters to you more than anything else.
I wrote in May that I feared for you — that soon, you would no longer be able to be forgiven.
That point is now coming very close. If you wish to have a future in politics, I strongly suggest you change your course.
TO FELLOW SEVENOAKS RESIDENTS: Please note that the Lockdown Larder organisation is restarting to fill the gap in this moment. They are seeking donations — more information here.