READERS have criticised Reading West MP Alok Sharma (Conservative) for voting against the recent consideration to provide free school meals during the school holidays until Easter 2021.

Following parliament vote on Wednesday (October 21), it was revealed that Mr Sharma was among the 'no' voters, which won a majority nationally.

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Newbury MP Laura Farris (Conservative) also voted no, while Reading East MP Matt Rodda (Labour) voted for the change.

Ultimately, Labour's motion to extend free school meals over school holidays was voted against by 322 votes to 261 - a majority of 61.

Reacting to the Reading's Chronicle's announcement of the news, reader Dominic Rees said: "Why would you vote against free school meals?

"Genuinely interested in the reasons put forward. Cost? Principle?" while Alison Hazelton simply said: "Shameful".

David Wotherspoon commented: "Reading East - our local Labour MP could never vote against feeding hungry little children.

"Who could?"

Mark Palmer echoed this view, saying: "Glad I live in Reading East, not West."

The vote came as Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford warned MPs not to "turn a blind eye" to vulnerable families.

The footballer was made an MBE for his efforts earlier this year and has urged his 3.4 million Twitter followers to lobby MPs to back his campaign.

He said: "Paying close attention to the Commons today and to those who are willing to turn a blind eye to the needs of our most vulnerable children, 2.2 million of them who currently qualify for free school meals."

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In responses from locals on Facebook, many seem disappointed by the decision.

Mikey Russell said: "Remember this at the ballot box" and Liz Woodhouse added: "Not good enough Alok Sharma."

Meanwhile, Peter Pratt said: "I'm alright Jack, I've just had a pay rise!" referencing the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's (IPSA) recommendation that MPs' basic annual salary should rise by 3.1 per cent to £81,932 in April 2021.

While Mr Sharma saw a backlash from many of his constituents over his vote, some were in agreement.

Commenting on The Chronicle's article, Jonny Smith said: "I find it staggering that people decide to have children then expects the government to feed them - do you not get child allowance these days or what ever it is called now?"