Jacob Rees-Mogg Said Unicef "Should Be Ashamed Of Itself" For Giving Food To Kids In The UK
Jacob Rees-Mogg said Unicef had better things to do than "faffing around in England" (Parliamentlive.tv)
The Leader of the House of Commons said Unicef, the UN agency responsible for providing aid to children, should be "ashamed of itself" for helping people in the UK.
He accused the aid organsation of "playing politics" after it was announced on Wednesday that tthey would be launching a domestic emergency response in the UK for the first time in its more than 70-year history to help feed children hit by the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Rees-Mogg made the comments in response to a question from Labour MP Zarah Sultana, who said the decision highlighted the “grotesque inequality that scars our society”.
She also highlighted reports that Mr Rees-Mogg was due to receive an £800,000 dividend payout this year from his personal business ventures, and urged him to allocate Commons time to discuss the issue.
But, the Commons leader responded: “It's a real scandal that Unicef should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest and most deprived countries in the world, where people are starving, where there are famines and there are civil wars – and 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,” he continued, adding that the government was “committed” to its pledges to tackle child poverty.
Rees-Mogg listed ways in which he believed the Conservative party – which has recently been forced to U-turn over a refusal to offer free school meals to deprived children during holidays – had a strong record on child poverty.
"Since 2010 to 2018/19, there are 100,000 fewer children in absolute poverty in this country," he continued.
“This is a record success of conservatism and Unicef should be ashamed of itself.”
Earlier in the Commons, Mr Rees Mogg had also referred to Unicef’s decision in a separate question regarding the kidnapping of school boys in Nigeria.
“You do wonder that Unicef might think a bit more about this than faffing around in England,” he said.
His comments have attracted condemnation from Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who accused the government of being “out of touch”.
Writing on Twitter, she said: “The only people who should be ashamed of themselves are Boris Johnson and the [Tories] letting children go hungry and leaving 4.2m children living in poverty in one of the richest countries on Earth.”
“Every Tory MP who voted against free school meals should be ashamed of themselves.”
Ms Rayner continued: “Old Etonian hedge fund founder Jacob Rees Mogg, who has personal wealth over £100 million, says it is a "scandal" that Unicef are having to feed hungry children in Britain.
“The only scandal is this rotten out of touch government leaving over 4 million children living in poverty.”
Ms Sultana also expressed anger at the comments, writing on Twitter that “he and his party know nothing about the lives of the working class”.