Minister in row over response to Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign

A minister has become embroiled in a row over her response to footballer Marcus Rashford's plea for the Government to extend its free school meal voucher scheme through the summer.

The Manchester United and England star has called on Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey to "put rivalries aside" and "make a difference".

His plea came as Tory MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the Education Select Committee, admitted that there were "mixed views" among Conservative politicians over the extension of the free school meals programme.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford lies in pain after picking up a back injury during the FA Cup third round replay match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mate Mason Greenwood during the Carabao Cup semi final first leg match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford rues a missed chance during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
England's Marcus Rashford
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07: Marcus Rashford attends in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Nike's most iconic football boot, some of the world's best footballers arrive in South London to debut its latest versions, the Mercurial Superfly and Vapor 360 at The Printworks on February 7, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Nike)
United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring during the Europa League round of 32 second leg soccer match between Manchester United and FC Midtjylland in Manchester, England, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 . (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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On his campaign, Rashford tweeted: "When you wake up this morning and run your shower, take a second to think about parents who have had their water turned off during lockdown."

In response, Ms Coffey posted on Twitter: "Water cannot be disconnected though."

The comment was widely criticised, with shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds describing it as "snarky".

In response to Ms Coffey's tweet, Rashford said on Twitter: "I'm concerned this is the only tweet of mine you acknowledged. Please, put rivalries aside for a second, and make a difference."

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