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Protesters hound MP at foodbank opening

This news post is over 6 years old

Scottish secretary David Mundell says he is disappointed foodbanks are being used for “political point-scoring”

Angry protestors forced Scotland’s only Tory MP to take cover behind a police escort at the launch of a new foodbank.

Scottish secretary David Mundell, Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, was opening Dumfries foodbank, a joint venture between the Trussell Trust and Apex Scotland, on Friday in the town’s Apex Centre.

Mundell, who previously caused outrage when he rubbished claims his party’s welfare reforms were linked to the rise in emergency foodbank use, was met in the town by around 200 angry locals and campaigners who shouted and banged on the windows of his car.

Supported by a police escort, Mundell had to enter the foodbank via its back door.

Despite the controversy surrounding the visit, the Trussell Trust’s Scotland network manager, Ewan Gurr, insisted inviting Mundell was the right thing to do.

He told reporters: “I was glad that he came to the foodbank today, I was glad that he made an effort to be here.

David Mundell
David Mundell

“It was a brave move, and a bold move. He's had a lot of negative feedback about being at the launch of the Peebleshire foodbank, and I was happy to welcome him today.

“I wasn't asking people to agree with his politics, I wasn't asking them to agree with his view on the Scotland Bill, or the budget.

“I was asking people to welcome him as a human being, and I think he came today to represent his constituents, many of whom are going to have to use this foodbank."

Mundell himself defended his choice to attend and criticised those who have turned foodbanks into what he deemed “political point-scoring”.

He said: “Nobody wants to see people living in poverty or difficulty. The Trussell Trust and Apex do a really good job in supporting people locally who have problems, and that's why I want to work with them and support my constituents.

“I support organisations whether or not they agree with government policy, and I support people whether or not they vote for me, that's the job of a local MP.

“Foodbanks, poverty, these issues are debated regularly in both the Scottish and the UK parliament and that’s right, but I am disappointed that they remain so politicised, there is so much political point scoring that we actually don’t have the constructive debate we need if we want to see the eradication of poverty – which everybody does.”

TFN readers appear to be split down the middle of whether Mundell should have attended the opening.

In our online poll, currently,just over 50% say it was wrong for him to open the foodbank and just under 50% said it was right for him to do so.

Reader, Jason, said: "Given than Mr Mundell is the constituency Member of Parliament, it is only right that he is invited."

Another reader, John, said it is important to be given the chance to put MPs on the spot.

He added: "Foodbanks in their constituency shouldn't be celebrated and this should be used as an opportunity to question them on why they think this foodbank is necessary and what they intend to do to reduce the need for foodbanks."



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over 6 years ago
Mr Mundell is not the constituency MP for this part of Dumfries. The postcode for this foodbank comes under Richar Arlkless MP. Mr Mundell had criticised the organiser of the already existing foodbank suggesting that his views were not credible because he wished self determination for Scotland. Mr Mundell fled the foodbank when he was asked about his failure to visit the independent foodbank at First Base. He could not stand and speak to voters because he is a coward.
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over 6 years ago
Mr Mundel is using this for his own political point scoring and to attack the people who are utterly disgusted by his condoning of foodbanks. It is immoral that a rich country, with some extremely unimaginably rich politicians in the tory party, and labour, who are attacking the very people who need protecting, the poorest and most vulnerable.Mundell is lacking in compassion and used this to try to make himself appear to earning his keep. This article is giving a voice to an actual perpetrator of such criminal actions against the people of Scotland, he deserves no such get out clause.