The vote came after nearly 150,000 people signed a change.org/foodbanks petition started by Oxfam and Child Poverty Action group campaigner, mother Jack Monroe, backed by the Mirror newsaper, the Unite union and The Trussell Trust calling for an inquiry into the growing dependence on food aid.
Labour leader Ed Miliband called for a House of Common Opposition Day debate on the plight of Britain's poorest famillies - but Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs banded together to defeat Labour’s motion for a full Parliamentary Debate by 294 votes to 251, a majority of 43.
The Mirror newspaper reports Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith refused to answer for the Government, leaving it to his deputy, North West MP Esther McVey, who sparked fury by claiming it was a good thing that more people were turning to food banks.
The Mirror claims the debate saw a depressing lack of concern from some Tory MPs about the plight of hungry families forced to rely on food banks, with some laughing and jeering as Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart told of shocking scenes at her local Tesco in Slough as people battled over cut-price fruit and vegetables, desperate to snap up discounted items.
Senior Labour politicians later described the Tories’ callous reaction as “shameful” and “a total disgrace”, while the Trussell Trust, the nation’s largest provider of food banks, said it was “disappointed” by the attitude of those who jeered.
Duncan Smith's deputy, Tory Wirral MP Esther McVey, claimed that food bank use was a good thing, saying it was a positive "that people are reaching out to support other people.
“In the UK it is right that more people are going to food banks because as times are tough, we are all having to pay back this £1.5 trillion debt personally.
"We are all trying to live within our means, change gear and make sure that we pay back all our debt." the minister, who receives a three-figure salary and has claimed some £170,000 in expense this year, claimed.
The Mirror reports Labour veteran Sir Gerald Kaufman her speech as the “nastiest” he had heard in his 43 years as an MP.
Food banks give a minimum of three days’ emergency food to people facing crisis in the UK. The Trussell Trust runs the Morecambe Bay Food Bank, based at the G.Y.M. Methodist Church in Green Street, Morecambe. The Olive Branch runs the Food Bank in Westbourne Road, Lancaster.
People are referred by care professionals though a voucher system to ensure only genuine cases receive help. Vouchers are also held by Jobcentre Plus for emergency distribution.
Each food bank is run in partnership with a local church or community. All food is donated by the public.
The Mirror and Sunday Mirror’s Christmas Appeal for the Trussell Trust has revealed that 60,000 people in the UK will go hungry over Christmas – 20,000 of them children. The Trust has already fed more than 500,000 people just since April.
" This Christmas, my son and I will have food on the table," says Jack Monroe, who was forced to turn to food banks in the past to get by. "But 60,000 others won’t. It’s not just the festive season – 350,000 people received three-days emergency food from foodbanks between April and September this year. Yet supposedly the economy is recovering, and banker’s bonuses are back?
"Please join me by signing this petition calling for a Parliamentary Debate. Make politicians confront what is happening. We need to stop turning a blind eye."
• You can still sign Jack Monroe's petition here
• Read the debate in Hansard: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131218/debtext/131218-0003.htm#13121855000003
• The 296 MPs who voted against the motion are listed here