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Local MP visits College during ‘Love Our Colleges Week’

Robert Halfon MP visits Harlow College 

Robert Halfon MP doesn’t make a habit of going against the Conservative Party, so when he does it’s usually for a good reason.

On Wednesday (Oct 21) Robert joined four other Tory MPs and voted against the Conservative Party and sided with the unsuccessful Labour motion to extend free school meals throughout the school holidays until Easter 2021, amid the coronavirus crisis.

On Friday (Oct 23), as part of Love Our Colleges Week, Robert visited Harlow College, which he describes as one of the best in the country, and spoke to Journalism students about that controversial vote and about his work as an MP.

Childhood food insecurity is a major issue for thousands of children in the UK. Robert Halfon has been campaigning for some time, hoping the government will develop a long term plan to prevent childhood hunger and poverty.

He has campaigned for food companies, such as Kellogg’s, to make a deal to match government funding, as well as an introduction of more breakfast clubs. Students who eat breakfast each day can achieve two GCSEs more than their hungry counterparts. Robert also states he wants to use income from the sugar tax to fund these projects, as it disproportionately impacts low income families; the tax brings in roughly £340 million which could be better invested.

Robert also spoke about working with Marcus Rashford. Robert claims he doesn’t like celebrities getting involved with politics due to "lots of hypocrisy", but thinks Rashford is a "good man" and he has lived out this issue, although he "doesn’t agree with all his solutions".

During his meeting with the journalism students Robert was asked: "In relation to the current food insecurity crisis, what are your plans concerning Harlow, taking into account levels of poverty and child hunger throughout the holidays, within your constituency?"

He responded by saying he has seen the impact food poverty has had within Harlow. He has visited and worked at the Food Bank and the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust, seeing the problems they have faced, and the many people they have helped.

Robert has discussed with Essex County Council about continuing to ask for government support.

He told the students he has been elected twice to be chairman of the Parliamentary Education Committee. During his time with the committee he has led the biggest inquiry into helping special education needs children and young people.

When asked if he finds it difficult at times to balance his personal views with his party’s views, Robert said he joined the Conservative Party when he was 14, adding, "It’s like a family. It’s not a job, it’s a way of life."

Robert summed up by saying he was loyal to his country, loyal to Harlow, and loyal to the Conservatives.

Photo shows Robert Halfon with Harlow College NCTJ Journalism students.

Article by Lloyd Evans, NCTJ student at Harlow College.