Opposition councillors have called for an urgent meeting where they will call on a council to provide funding for children who receive free school meals.

It comes after the government turned down a motion by the national Labour party to provide school meals over half-term, following a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford.

The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties in Hertsmere have joined forces calling for an extraordinary council meeting where they will ask Conservative-controlled Hertsmere Borough Council to provide the funding for the approximately 1,800 children within the borough, who currently receive free school meals during term time at the rate of £17 per week, for all school holidays up and including Easter 2021.

The cross-party motion would need to be backed by Conservative councillors in Hertsmere to be successful.

Labour councillor Christian Gray said: "I was bitterly disappointed when the Tory government voted down the motion on extending free school meals. Amidst a devastating global pandemic that has unleashed incomprehensible suffering on the most vulnerable in our society, I truly believed that the Conservatives might see beyond ideology and join the opposition parties in ensuring that the poorest kids in the country would not go hungry this winter.

"This was clearly too much to ask. Preventing over a million kids from going without food should not be political. Our children deserve better."

Local councillors have already been supporting residents in need in recent months.

Over the summer, Borehamwood Tory councillor Meenal Sachdev led a project over the summer with charity Gratitude, helping to provide hundreds of meals to schoolchildren.

Meals were cooked by Compassion London in north London and then distributed to children in need in Borehamwood, including those eligible for free school meals.

Borehamwood Times:

Cllr Sachdev at Gratitude in the summer along with Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden

Meanwhile, this morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that no children would go hungry due to “inattention” by his Government.

Mr Johnson hinted at extra support, promising to do “everything in our power” to tackle holiday hunger over the winter and the upcoming Christmas break.

Thousands of free meals were being provided to children by businesses, local authorities and community groups on the first day of half-term after the Government refused to reintroduce the vouchers scheme used over the summer break.

Dozens of people from a range of organisations, including Conservative-led councils, have stepped in to help, but Mr Johnson insisted Government support to local authorities and charities had helped.

A petition from footballer Rashford, who has been spearheading demands for free meals to be extended in England over the school holidays, has attracted almost 900,000 signatures.

Mr Johnson, speaking during a visit to a hospital in Reading, said: “We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, this Christmas, certainly not as a result of any inattention by this Government – and you are not going to see that.”

The Prime Minister said he had not spoken to Rashford since June “but what he is doing is terrific”.

In Hertsmere, families in need can receive support via Borehamwood Foodbank this Wednesday (October 28) at St Teresa's Parish Hall in Shenley Road from 11am to 1pm.

The Jewish Life Centre will be preparing meals everyday this week while Warren's Fruit and Veg, who have a stall at Borehamwood Market are taking order from families. Donations can be made to the stall on Tuesday and Saturday.