Lee Anderson: South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher leaps to defence of Tory colleague who claimed food bank users 'cannot cook' or 'budget'

South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher has leapt to the defence of her embattled Tory colleague who claimed food bank users cannot cook or budget.

By Catherine Musgrove
Friday, 13th May 2022, 12:30 pm

During a debate in the House of Commons this week, Ashfield MP Lee Anderson said: "I think you will see first hand that there's not this massive use for food banks in this country but generation after generation who cannot cook properly, they can't cook a meal from scratch.

"They cannot budget."

>>>”It’s a kick in the teeth”: Read here what Preston food bank volunteers made of the claim.

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South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher

He also urged others to follow the example set by a food bank in his constituency where people need to register for a budgeting and a cooking course when they go for a food parcel.

Following the statements, he was accused of insulting people who are struggling to feed their families and Labour said it was "beyond belief".

Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire said: "This was yet another offensive and insensitive statement from a party that have proved time after time that they just don’t care about people that need to use foodbanks!"

But South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher, defended her Conservative colleague.

Lee Anderson has been criticised for his ‘crass’ comments on food banks (Photo: UK Parliament)

She said: " Lee has done great work with his local foodbank over several years, he's been a single parent watching the bills and is passionate about helping people in any way he can. "I am a little bemused by the confected outrage from the Labour party, I'd encourage people to actually watch what he said during his speech.

"He was inviting MP's to see the extra support Ashfield foodbank is providing. helping people who use the foodbank with budgeting and cooking skills to help their budgets go further and leave a couple of extra quid in their pockets compared to just buying pre prepared food."

Volunteers at local foodbanks said Mr Anderson was "out of touch" with the grassroots and his comments did not represent users they see in Preston.

Taz Ali of the Foodbank at Preston Community Hub said: “He’s not in touch with the common person. The Government need to look long and hard at themselves and take some responsibility.

Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire

"They need to invest in grassroots, go back to basics. I think budgeting lessons should be included in school PSHE (Personal, Social, Health, and Economic education) lessons.”