MARTIN Docherty-Hughes MP has responded to claims by local Councillor Sally Page that he needs to “get up to speed with the Scottish wing of his Party” after comments made in a recent opinion piece.

SNP MP for West Dunbartonshire Mr Docherty Hughes said in the Dumbarton Reporter Opinion column that head of the Scottish Conservative party Douglas Ross “shamefully voted to deprive children of food in this time of crisis”.

But Lomond ward Councillor Sally Page has hit back at Mr Docherty-Hughes comments, saying: “Douglas Ross MP specifically did not vote on this issue, he abstained and was in Scotland at the time of the vote.

“Douglas has since then asked that the other Scottish Conservative and Unionist MPs do not vote on issues that only concern England.

“The Scottish Conservatives will be bringing forward a vote in the Scottish Parliament to support free school meals, and not only for the holidays.

“It is the SNP who are currently blocking the provision of free school meals in Scotland.

“Maybe Martin Docherty-Hughes MP needs to get up to speed with the Scottish wing of his Party and check out what is happening on the ground for Scottish school children before writing in the local paper.”

Responding, the MP said: “"My job as West Dunbartonshire's MP is to hold this Tory UK government to account and stand up for local families facing hardship caused by policies enacted by Westminster.

"My constituents have been outraged by this Tory government's indefensible decision to deprive children in England of free school meals in this time of crisis, which also has a detrimental impact on Scotland's budget funding due to a loss of Barnett consequentials.

“I and every SNP representative in the Commons voted in favour of free school meals. And here in Scotland our SNP Scottish government has acted to further extend free school meal support throughout the holidays to help hard-hit local families through these tough times.

"It's Tory cuts that are forcing so many local families to turn to foodbanks. The Scottish Conservatives should be ashamed by their party's record at Westminster."