Marcus Rashford hits back after claim Boris Johnson has reached out to footballer over free school meals

Marcus Rashford, left, has been campaigning for the government to extend free school meals. (PA/Getty)
Marcus Rashford, left, has been campaigning for the government to extend free school meals. (PA/Getty)

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford says he hasn’t spoken to Boris Johnson about free school meals since June, after a government minister said the two had been in contact.

The England forward was responding to Matt Hancock, who was quoted as telling BBC Breakfast that Rashford and the prime minister had been communicating.

Rashford tweeted that the last time he had talked to Johnson was in June, when the government reversed its position and decided to extend free school meals for children into the summer holidays after the footballer campaigned on the issue.

Rashford, who is now campaigning for meals to be extended into school holidays again, has said he did not receive a reply to a letter to Johnson written more than a month ago.

Johnson later confirmed he had not spoken to Rashford since the summer.

Thousands of meals are being provided by businesses, councils and community groups as half-term begins this week.

Watch: Rashford says Boris Johnson did not reply to letter

A petition set up by Rashford calls on the government to “expand access to free school meals, provide meals and activities during holidays to stop holiday hunger and increase the value of and expand the Healthy Start scheme”.

It had reached more than 880,000 signatures by Monday morning.

Speaking during a visit to a hospital in Reading on Monday, Johnson said councils had been given extra cash and Universal Credit had increased, adding: “We will do everything in our power to make sure that no kid, no child goes hungry this winter during the holidays, that’s obviously something we care about very much.”

The government is enduring a backlash over its stance after it voted down a Labour motion on the issue in the Commons.

Senior Tory MP Sir Bernard Jenkin said ministers had “misunderstood the mood of the country”.

However, Rashford, who has been tweeting examples of how people have helped to feed children in need, warned that some Tory MPs had received “unacceptable abuse” on the issue.

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