Labour MP Zarah Sultana has branded Jacob Rees-Mogg a ‘Scrooge’ and sent the Commons leader a signed copy of the classic novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
The Tory politician accused the UN humanitarian agency of trying to score ‘cheap political points’ last week after it backed a programme to help feed hungry children in the UK.
The Labour MP sent the 51-year-old politician a signed version of the Charles Dickens classic Christmas story.
She joked it obviously wasn’t on the reading list at Eton College where the Leader of the House of Commons was educated.
Tory Rees-Mogg, 51, sparked outrage by saying the humanitarian group was playing politics over the gift of breakfasts to children – the first time the United Nations agency has fed British youngsters in its 70-year history.
The Labour MP Zarah Sultana, 27, branded Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg a ‘Scrooge’ following his comments about Unicef offering a grant to feed British school children
She sent the 51-year-old politician a signed version of the Charles Dickens classic Christmas novel
Unicef provided £25,000 to help give 18,000 families struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic breakfast boxes over the Christmas holidays.
The programme will also provide 6,750 breakfasts to families over the February half-term break.
The humanitarian aid agency said the coronavirus pandemic is the most urgent crisis affecting children since the Second World War.
The decision to intervene sparked anger from Mr Rees-Mogg who accused Unicef of ‘playing politics’ as he claimed it should be ‘ashamed of itself’.
The Commons Leader said the agency is ‘meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived, countries in the world where people are starving, where there are famines and where there are civil wars’.
Miss Sultana clashed with him in Parliament over his comments last Thursday. And the Labour MP for Coventry followed up by sending a signed version of the festive tome.
Unicef provided £25,000 to help give 1,800 families struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic breakfast boxes over the Christmas holidays through the School Food Matters charity (pictured)
She wrote inside: ‘Jacob, it seems this wasn’t on Eton’s reading list. Merry Christmas, Zarah.’
Zarah, 27 – elected as an MP last year – fumed on Instagram: ‘The Speaker encouraged me to show ‘Christmas spirit’ to Jacob Rees-Mogg.
‘His comments to me about Unicef don’t deserve it. But I thought I’d try all the same.’
Her post attracted praise from other social media users, with nurse Jenny calling her a ‘queen’, while another said: ‘You are an absolute legend.’ A fourth added: ‘Excellent.’
Miss Sultana said: ‘For the first time ever Unicef, the UN agency responsible for providing humanitarian aid to children, is having to feed working class kids in the UK.
‘While children go hungry, a wealthy few enjoy obscene riches, from Tory donors handed billions in dodgy Covid contracts.
‘To people like the Leader of the House who is reportedly in line to receive an £800,000 dividend payout this year.
‘So will he give Government time to discuss the need to make him and his super rich chums pay their fair share so we can end the grotesque inequality that scars our society?’
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, said: ‘I don’t like to personalise too much in the House of Commons. I do want to show some kind of Christmas spirit at the moment.’
The Labour MP posted about the row on social media saying the Tory party ‘should be ashamed with themselves’
Her tongue in cheek action was met with support online, with one individual calling her a ‘queen’
This social media user said the 27-year-old was an ‘absolute legend’
This person also voiced their support on Instagram in response to her original post
This person said that they ‘loved’ the Labour MP’s cheeky gift
Mr Rees-Mogg replied: ‘I think it is a real scandal that Unicef should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived, countries of the world.
‘They make cheap political points of this kind, giving, I think, £25,000 to one council.
‘It is a political stunt of the lowest order. Unicef should be ashamed of itself.’
The charity School Food Matters will use the Unicef grant to support families in Southwark, South London, by delivering food boxes packed with ingredients for 10 nutritious breakfasts.
This includes fresh pineapple, oats, desiccated coconut, and rice in addition to whole meal bread, baked beans and milk.
Anna Kettley, director of programmes at Unicef UK, said: ‘This is Unicef’s first ever emergency response within the UK, introduced to tackle the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus crisis and reach the families most in need.
‘The grant for School Food Matters will address the gap in current provision for children, providing approximately 1,800 children with breakfast bags during the Christmas holidays and February half term.’