“If people can’t afford to eat….then don’t eat."
Former Tory MP and now Reform UK party member Ann Widdecombe has been widely condemned for her ‘out of touch’ and appalling comments on families struggling to make ends meet during the cost of living crisis.
Widdecombe was asked on BBC 2’s Politics Live programme about the cost of living crisis and what advice she would give to viewers who could not even afford the basics.
Jo Coburn asked the former Tory MP: “What do you say to those viewers who literally can’t afford to pay even for some of the basics – if they’ve gone up the way that cheese sandwich has, with all its ingredients?”
“Well, then you don’t do the cheese sandwich,” Widdecombe replied.
Her comments were immediately condemned by fellow panellist Rachel Cunliffe who said: “We’re talking about absolute basics and staples. We’re talking about own-brand pasta, we’re talking about bread, we’re talking about families who can’t afford to feed their children.
“There’s a story about mothers who can’t afford formula milk so their babies are literally starving.”
Widdecombe’s comments were also condemned by opposition politicians.
The Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, Sarah Olney, said: “How out of touch can you get? Ann Widdecombe joins a long line of rightwing politicians who pin the blame on hard-working families for this government’s failures.
“Families are struggling to afford the weekly shop, but Rishi Sunak is refusing to act. We need a proper plan to bring food prices down now including tackling profiteering and boosting support for our farmers.”
Labour MP Ian Lavery tweeted: “Really compassionate from Tory Ann Widdecombe.
“If people can’t afford to eat….then don’t eat.
“And yes she really means it.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward