The change.org petition started by Braunton local Paul Trueman on Saturday 24th October, which calls for the North Devon MP to resign after mocking local businesses providing free school meals, has seen more than 6,000 signatures.
The petition started following the new MPs tirade on social media, in which she said:
"I am delighted our local businesses have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free, and very much hope they will not be seeking further government support".
On Saturday, the office of Conservative MP Selaine Saxby released a statement which said:
"The portrayal of my recent comments on social media, out of context, does not accurately convey my views. I, of course, deeply regret any offence which may have been caused".
Many have since argued that this is an expression of regret, and not an apology.
Now Alex White, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for North Devon, is calling for her to go:
"What happened to the Conservative Party claiming to be the party of business? One of their MPs has sent a very strong message on what the Tories think of business and hospitality - and it does not paint a very pretty picture. All the time Saxby remains in her post, businesses can assume Saxby's sentiment is shared by the Government. When thousands of your constituents are calling for you to stand down, you have one final opportunity to do the right thing. I say to Saxby, it's time to go. Your disgusting comments have shown you are out of touch with the people of North Devon and now, I'm afraid, you're out of luck."
A local Facebook post which has gone viral in the constituency lists over fifty local eateries in Northern Devon stepping up to provide Free School Meals this half term, backing the campaign of Marcus Rashford and opposition parties in parliament.
Four thousand signatures were reached just days after the Tory MP began to hit headlines in The BBC, Sky News, ITV News, The Sun, The Observer, The Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Devon Live and more besides.
The comments from the MP for North Devon, backed by a statement without an apology, has left an unsavoury taste in the mouths of parents and constituents across North Devon. The question that remains, with calls continuing to be made for Saxby to resign, is whether the Conservatives will take the hit on no longer being the party of business, or push Saxby to go.
North Devon Liberal Democrats, the main opposition in the constituency, which was formerly held by Sir Nick Harvey, are calling on Selaine Saxby to resign.