A TORY MP who has been lambasted by the opposition, charities and even his own government has doubled down on “disgraceful” comments about food banks.

Lee Anderson sparked anger and disbelief after claiming there is not “this massive use for food banks” in the UK, but “generation after generation who cannot cook properly” and “cannot budget”.

He invited “everybody” on the opposition benches in the Commons to visit a food bank in his Nottinghamshire constituency where, when people come for a food parcel, they now need to register for a “budgeting course” and a “cooking course”.

The remarks, made in the Commons on Wednesday during a Queen’s Speech debate, were immediately rubbished by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, who said Conservatives should be “shamed” by their record on tackling poverty.

Tory minister Victoria Atkins insisted on Thursday that the claims are “not the view of me or anyone else in government”.

Yet Anderson has refused to back down, hitting out at “the left” and the “gutter press” for supposedly misinterpreting his comments.

He wrote on Facebook: “I did not say poor people cannot cook or there is no need for food banks. I said there is not the need currently being parroted out by the MSM (mainstream media).”

The Ashfield MP told Times Radio on Thursday that his point has been “exaggerated”, saying he was “glad it’s caused all this fuss” because it sparked a debate.

“There is a massive problem in this country where people simply cannot cook, he said. “This is not me being a nasty Tory. This is me saying there’s help out there.”

The Tory expanded on his point about food bank users, telling the radio station: “With the right help and the right support and the right education, they’d be able to fend for themselves.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon tears into Boris Johnson over cost of living bluster

He added: “That’s how you help people. It’s the old adage, teach a man to fish … if you can do that and get into the root cause of some of these problems then you can genuinely help people.”

Arguing the Government has provided ample support to those in need, he said: “You can’t just keep throwing money at a problem. Eventually, you’ve got to try and get into the root cause of a problem.”

Asked why he thinks his remarks have angered people so much, Anderson replied: “Because I’m talking common sense. It’s as simple as that.”

He added: “The left will obviously jump on this, the mainstream will jump on this because at the moment all we’re hearing in the chamber is food bank use is on the up.”

He was backed by Conservative MP for Mansfield Ben Bradley, who said there is a problem with “basic education” and numeracy skills.

Bradley told Nottinghamshire Live: “People take Lee’s comments about a small group of people, and there is a cycle, he is absolutely right, about a small number, or a large number really, but a minority, of families and generations of poor education, poor basic skills around cooking and budgeting, if you don’t know as a parent how to do things and you find that cycle of poverty and it is important to break into that at some stage with the kind of education Lee is talking about.”

READ MORE: Tory MP Lee Anderson tells Priti Patel to back chain gang punishment for climate protesters

Cherry, who followed Anderson in the Commons, was appalled by his comments.

She replied: “All of us have food banks in our constituency. We don’t really need to visit his because we’re perfectly well aware of the requirement for them.

“But the requirement for them is not because people don’t know how to cook. It’s because we have poverty in this country at a scale that should shame his government.”

SNP work and pensions spokeswoman Kirsty Blackman added: “These comments from a Tory MP that people who use food banks do so because they don’t know how to cook or budget are reprehensible, but they also highlight how out of touch this broken Tory Government is with ordinary people.”

Labour branded Anderson’s remarks “beyond belief” and the LibDems described them as “disgraceful”.

The Child Poverty Action Group claimed politicians “would do better to back real-world solutions, like bringing benefits in line with inflation this autumn” and the Trussell Trust charity insisted “cooking meals from scratch won’t help families keep the lights on or put food on the table, if they don’t have enough money in their pockets”.

The Trades Union Congress insisted the comments showed “how out of touch Conservative MPs and ministers are with the cost-of-living emergency”.

Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister Karen Buck said: “In the world where people actually live, we now hear daily stories of families going without food and others unable to turn their ovens on in fear of rising energy bills.

“The idea that the problem is cooking skills and not 12 years of Government decisions that are pushing people into extreme poverty is beyond belief.

“Out of touch doesn’t even cover it.”

LibDem work and pensions spokeswoman Wendy Chamberlain said in a statement outside the Commons: “These comments are disgraceful and an insult to millions of hard-working people who are struggling to put food on the table for their family through no fault of their own.

“Lee Anderson should apologise straight away for his shameful remarks.”

In 2020-2021, Anderson claimed £222,000 in expenses, including £4100 on travel and "subsistence".