Parents and children in Chippenham held an ‘empty plate’ protest outside MP Michele Donelan’s office today (Mon).

They laid the plates with messages on them on the pavement outside, and claim her office staff threatened them with the police if they did not remove them.

"I have been working in education for more than 20 years, and I know that there are children going hungry in Chippenham," said organiser Claire Coverley.

“I teach here and I know there will be children going hungry today.

“We should not have mothers and fathers going to beg for food in this day and age,” she said. “It is despicable, and our MP is supposed to represent us, but instead she just votes with her party. I know teachers who regularly give food to children in this town. This is an endemic long running crisis, not something caused by Covid.”

Michele Donelan's office rejected the claims of a threat of police action:

“The police were not called to the office and neither was any threat made of the police being called. My staff reiterated I am more than happy to discuss any issue with any constituent in a surgery appointment," she said.

"I fully support the councils decision to provide meals to vulnerable children, local solutions are more effective especially in these unusual times. We have also seen a great community effort by our local businesses and groups who have stepped up to help too and should also be commended for their contributions to our community.”