A BARRACKING from angry protesters awaited Conservative MP David Mundell when he turned up to open a food bank in Dumfries on Friday.
The Dumfriesshire MP and Secretary of State for Scotland had accepted an invitation to officially open the Dumfriesshire food bank at the Apex Centre in the town’s Friars Vennel — sparking an outcry from those claiming his party’s policies had been instrumental in creating the need for food banks.
Dumfries Trades Union Council were among those joining the protest, and its secretary John Dennis said: “This is sheer hypocrisy on the part of Mr Mundell.
“He was a supporter of the coalition Government, which imposed monumental public sector cuts, and he is now a member the Conservative Government of David Cameron, which has announced huge welfare benefit cuts.
“He has thus supported policies which have increased the level of poverty both locally in Dumfries and throughout the rest of the country.”
Mr Dennis added: “How can he have the nerve to open a food bank?
“Food banks should simply not exist in a civilised society.”
Mr Mundell was greeted with boos and chants of ‘shame on you’ by an estimated 100 protesters who chased the MP’s car as he was driven to the food bank.
Banners included slogans such as ‘They cut, we bleed’ and ‘This is what you get for trusting a Tory’.
Ahead of his visit, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said she had cross- examined Mr Mundell in the Scottish Parliament’s Welfare Reform Committee when he claimed welfare reform had not caused the rise in food bank use.
She said: “Perhaps Mr Mundell has changed his views. Does he now agree that his government’s policy is linked to a rise in hungry families?”
Responding to criticism, Mr Mundell said that during his 16 years as an elected representative in Dumfriesshire he has supported and engaged with groups regardless of whether or not they support Government policy.
He said: “I will not be put off from doing that.
“This facility will do important work to support some of my constituents who find themselves in difficulty, alongside the support which the UK and Scottish governments and the local council provides.
“The reasons behind food bank use are complex and varied and every individual case is different.”
Mr Mundell also stated that the country is still suffering the aftermath of the longest and deepest recession in living memory, even though recent economic news has been better.
He added: “It is disappointing that some people are trying to use this as an opportunity to score political points. That is a matter for them. I will continue to represent my constituents, as I was elected to do.”
IPSO -- DNG24 is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the regulatory body for the press, and abides by its code of conduct (available in English at https://www.ipso.co.uk/ ). If you have a complaint about editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then contact the Editor at Contact Us. If you remain dissatisfied with the response provided, then you can contact IPSO at Gate House, 1 Farringdon Street, London, EC4M 7LG (Tel: 0300 123 2220) or e-mail: [email protected] Although IPSO provides an arbitration scheme DNG24 is not a member of this scheme. In any event, we would advise you to consider any response to IPSO promptly, as time limits (in some cases four months after the date of publication of the article) can apply, please see https://www.ipso.co.uk/ for further details.