CONSERVATIVE MPs have been told they are "barred" from some Sussex venues after voting against the extension of the free school meals scheme.

The Marina Fountain pub in Hastings and Ridley's Coffee in Crawley were among several businesses to tell their local politicians they were not welcome following last week's vote.

The proposal to extend free school meals during the holidays until next Easter, championed by Premier League star Marcus Rashford, was defeated by 322 votes to 261.

Three hundred and 18 of the votes against the bid were cast by Conservatives, including several from Sussex.

In a letter addressed to one of them, Hastings and Rye Conservative MP Sally-Ann Hart, a spokesman for the Marina Fountain pub said: "We would like to follow suit of some of our fellow publicans and offer this message of unwelcome.

"For continuing to vote, promote and justify nearly everything we stand against you’re now officially barred from the premises.

The Argus:

"A clear message has been sent by the hospitality sector in Hastings and across the country, you’re in the minority. And you do not speak for us.

"Pubs across this town and the country are pulling together to be the key part of the community they always have been and to help in a perilous time for themselves those less fortunate."

The pub said it will be donating to St Leonards Church of England’s hardship fund this week, with staff giving up their tips to the cause and customers contributing at the bar.

"May the best thing you do in your post be uniting the town against you," the statement read.

Ridley's Coffee echoed this sentiment in an open letter to Crawley Conservative MP Henry Smith.

It read: "Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, voted against feeding hungry children over the Christmas period.

"In total, 11 Sussex MPs voted against it with four voting in favour.

"We stand with Marcus Rashford and every single one of you who are raising awareness and finding ways to get food to hungry children.

"We are barring Henry Smith from Ridley's for life - this kind of discrimination and lack of humanity is not welcome and never will be."

The Argus contacted the offices of both MPs for comment.

The Argus:

No response has been received from Henry Smith, but Sally-Ann Hart issued a statement after being told of the Hastings pub's statements.

She said: "Supporting the hospitality industry has been one of my chief priorities during this pandemic.

"Pubs are one of the pillars of our community and our nations economic recovery depends on their survival and success.

The Argus:

"It’s vital that we all continue to support our locals during this incredibly difficult time, and do so safely.

"I will continue to advocate for the Hastings hospitality industry and fight for their success in Parliament."