A TORY MP who works as a senior children's doctor is facing the wrath of colleagues in the medical profession after she opposed providing free schools meals for poorer pupils.

Caroline Johnson voted against a motion in the Commons last week which would have allowed youngsters to receive free meals during the school holidays.

The 42-year-old, who became a Tory MP in December 2016, is a former pupil of the independent Gordonstoun School in Moray. She became a consultant paediatrician in 2012.

Last weekend more than 2,000 paediatricians backed the drive by footballer Marcus Rashford to ensure children have enough to eat joining other anti-poverty campaigners and opposition parties to condemn Boris Johnson's government for its refusal to fund free meals for disadvantaged children in England over the school holidays.

The Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive all have funding in place so that free school meals can be given to children from low income households during the holidays. In Scotland financial support is in place to cover the scheme during Christmas and Easter holidays next year.

The doctors' letter, co-ordinated by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, expressed shock at the government's decision and stating that ensuring children have enough to eat is one of the “most basic human responsibilities”.

It said: "Every day, we see the impact of hunger and malnutrition in our work as paediatricians. It is not unusual for us to care for children who don’t have enough to eat or who don’t have access to a substantial meal outside of what is provided in school.

"We call on the UK government to match the pledges of the Welsh and Scottish Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive, to continue to provide children from low-income backgrounds with free meals over the coming weeks and to then extend this at least until the Easter school holiday."

The letter praised Rashford as a “source of inspiration” for his campaign, which has continued to attract a groundswell of support.

Hundreds of businesses have signed up to help provide meals and scores of councils in England, including Tory-led authorities, have agreed to fund local programmes. An online petition set up by Rashford now has more than 700,000 signatures, while Labour is planning to embarrass the government by holding another Commons vote on the issue.

But Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, who works part time as an consultant paediatrician at Peterborough City Hospital, backed the government's position in the Commons vote last week.

She was not among the signatories to the letter organised by the professional college.

Russell Viner, president of the Royal College, said at the weekend he had “rarely seen such anger among our members”.

He added: “We care for children who don’t have enough to eat. We see far too many of them. It is heartbreaking that it has become a normal part of our jobs and hunger is all too common for millions of families in the UK. There is an opportunity to put this right. It is pointless to talk about levelling up the country, an ambition which we support, while refusing to offer temporary relief to children and families.”

Dr Philippa Whitford, the SNP's health spokesman at Westminster, said: "I think doctors have a responsibility to make the case for public health and it is clear that childhood nutrition is critical to that.

"I think Caroline Johnson's colleagues in paediatrics who signed a petition which has been so easily ignored will be disappointed. She is in a position to speak up for improving the health of children and protecting them at this difficult time and she chose not to."

The National has approached Johnson for a comment.