CAROLINE Ansell has resigned from the government.

She failed to support the government in a debate over free school meals.

Caroline said: “”Due to my decision not to support the government in this debate, I have resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.”

Conservative MPs have rejected a Labour motion calling for an extension of free school meals over the school holidays until Easter 2021.

It was rejected by 322 votes to 261, a majority of 61.

Ministers have so far rejected calls to extend the provision of free school meals in England over the half-term and Christmas breaks, despite coming under pressure.

Labour’s shadow education secretary, Kate Green, said the government had “badly let down more than one million children and their families”.

She added: “No child should go hungry over the holidays, but the government is blocking the action needed to prevent this.

“We pay tribute to Marcus Rashford and others for shining a spotlight on this incredibly important issue.

“This campaign is not over and the government must reconsider.”

A government spokesman said before the vote: “We have been giving substantial support to families and children, by providing free school meals when schools were partially closed, increasing welfare support by £9.3bn, and giving councils £63m for families facing financial difficulties.

“We also provided vouchers through the COVID Summer Food Fund, in addition to the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

“Now that the vast majority of pupils are back in school and over 99% of schools have been open every week since term began, kitchens are able to provide healthy, nutritious meals to all children, including those eligible for free school meals.”