WINCHESTER’S Conservative MP has officially opened a new food bank in city, but angry residents have criticised Mr Brine’s involved due the government’s policies.

The Basics Bank branch, in St Luke’s Church, Stanmore, is the second food bank to open in the city and will act as a new satellite bank, helping those in the area who are in need of their services without having to make a lengthy trip to the Highcliffe branch.

The Christian charity provides individuals and families in need with emergency food parcels with enough food for five days.

Mr Brine, who hosted a collection point for the bank at his offices until October 2017, said: “I have been working with Basics Bank for a decade. This new branch has been a long time coming, currently people in Stanmore in need of its services need to take two buses to get to Highcliffe.

“We prayed for the right place and it seems it finally has. St Luke’s, Stanmore and Basics Bank are the perfect combination.

“I came here today to give it a push and show that the people of Stanmore can have faith in it.”

Mike Slinn, director of Winchester Basics Bank, added: “I’m pleased that we are finally here, and so many good people were present for the launch today.

“I find it sad that we still need to provide this service to the community, but while it is still needed we will bust a gut for the people in need.”

However, some local residents were unhappy with the Conservative MP’s involvement. Several arrived with boxes full of food to donate to the bank with anti-austerity slogans on them in an act of protest.

Gillian Connell, vice-chairman of Winchester Labour Party, said: “Government policies made food banks necessary. 120,000 people have died as result of Tory austerity. Steve Brine is not only a junior minister, but a government whip, so can’t claim innocence. But we have struck up a good relationship with the organisers.”

Local resident Carolyn Buller added: “The fact that food banks are necessary in the third richest city in the country is a shocking indictment of government policy. I felt it was an unfortunate choice of speaker, but I fully support the food bank.”