In a rant on North Devon News Facebook Group, Saxby used her personal account to express her frustration that her voting against free school meal provision hasn't stopped some heroic eateries in the area from stepping up. "I hope they [hospitality businesses] will not be seeking any further government support." "I am delighted business have bounced back so much after lockdown they are able to give away food for free", she said. The post was later deleted, but the Tory MP for North Devon followed up with an email to the admin of the site, further extending her tirade.
The comments came after the Tory MP for North Devon voted against providing free school meals to the most vulnerable children in North Devon, over the holidays. Speaking on twitter, she referred to the opposition bill that sought to prevent children from going hungry as 'Punch and Judy Politics'. The Liberal Democrats say it is shameful and disgusting to vote against it. 1 in 6 children in Devon live in Poverty, rising to 1 in 3 in parts of North Devon specifically.
Lib Dem Spokesperson for North Devon, Alex White says "Saxby must apologise":
“I am stunned at what I have read from Saxby tonight. Not only has she tried to justify the fact that she has voted in a way that could see children go hungry, but she's also attacked the hospitality industry in North Devon who have taken one of the biggest beatings during this pandemic, but still step forward to support children. That's what Saxby doesn't realise, North Devon is full of good people doing the right thing. Maybe that's why so often it feels she is out of place. Volunteers and businesses have stepped up to help some of the poorest children because she and her Conservative colleagues are too heartless to bother. She must issue an immediate, full and unreserved apology to the people of North Devon, especially the hospitality industry and especially those providing free school meals. I'm appalled by this tory MP. Saxby must apologise now."
The tweet came days after the MP being barred from a local pub due to voting against an amendment in the Agriculture Bill that would have sought to protect farmers, and just hours after the Liberal Democrat Group on Devon County Council called for the Tory run council to follow suit of other authorities and provide free school meals. They say Devon County Council should reverse its 'mean minded' refusal to provide free school meals during the holidays, say Devon's Liberal Democrats.
We'd like to thank local businesses for stepping up to provide food for children at this difficult time.
The Liberal Democrats are clear - this is Westminster's delegate in North Devon and not North Devon's voice in Westminster. She must apologise to the hardworking business owners in the hospitality industry. When she stepped back, they stood up. We stand with them.