Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has said the party is backing footballer Marcus Rashford's campaign for free school meals in England, saying his work is "nothing short of extraordinary".

The UK Conservative party has come under fire in the last week after 320 of its MPs voted against allocating £15-a-week food vouchers for impoverished children over the school holidays.

However, Moray MP Douglas Ross has stated his position, saying that the Scottish Tories back the plan, and have called on the Scottish Government to go further.

Earlier this month, Scotland’s Social Security Secretary, Shirley-Anne Somerville, announced more than £10 million for the extension of free school meals during the Christmas, February and Easter breaks, as well as reimbursements to local authorities which offer support during the October holiday.

READ MORE: Scots Tory leader Douglas Ross explains why he failed to vote for free school meals

In September, the Scottish Tory leader announced that his party would push for free breakfasts and lunches in every Scottish primary school.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Ross said: “My reasoning was partly because it’s good policy – no child learns well when they’re not well-fed.”

He added: “By providing free school meals universally, my party reasoned, we could make sure that no pupil is left behind, as they have been far too often under the SNP.”

Mr Ross also said that his mother’s work as a school dinner lady had pushed him to act, showing “the good that providing pupils with healthy, nutritious food can do”.

The party will now push for a vote in Holyrood on implementing his policy, the leader said, adding: “I’m going to keep cheering on Marcus Rashford’s campaign in England.

“But in Scotland, we’re going to go much further and force the SNP to act on his example – by deeds, not just words.”

Praising the Manchester United and England striker, Mr Ross – a part-time assistant referee – said: “I’ve seen 22-year-olds score for Manchester United and England before – that’s impressive but it’s not extraordinary.

“Rashford’s political campaigns have been nothing short of extraordinary.

“They’re classy, professional, and he consistently keeps out of all the usual political mud-slinging that a campaign like this sometimes engages in.”

The Scottish Tory leader refused to vote on a motion put forward by Labour in the House of Commons last week, justifying his decision by saying it would only affect England.

However, the five other Scottish Tory MPs in Westminster voted against the motion to support Rashford’s campaign, something which Mr Ross said would not happen again.

He said: “It’s been reported that some of our other MPs did take part. That will no longer be the practice going forward. In future, our MPs will not take part in votes that relate to England only.

“However, the Scottish Conservatives will vote in the Scottish Parliament to support free school meals, and not only during the holidays.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to do “everything in our power” to tackle holiday hunger.

READ MORE: Ben Bradley defends tweet after he calls free school meals programme “£20 cash direct to a crack den and a brothel”

“I totally understand the issue of holiday hunger, it is there, we have to deal with it,” he said.

“The debate is how do you deal with it.”

However, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “It’s breathtaking hypocrisy for Douglas Ross to seek to attach himself to the inspirational campaign from Marcus Rashford to feed children from low-income families when he failed to vote for this at Westminster when he had the chance to do so.

“It’s a gross insult to Marcus Rashford and hard-pressed families from Douglas Ross after he so miserably failed to stand up to Boris Johnson over this issue.”

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's Government has continued to refuse an extension of free school meals during October half-term, prompting schools to take the reins.

In England, schools leaders have begun making preparations to ensure disadvantaged children do not go hungry over the Christmas holidays,

They are now forced to consider what additional support they will be able to put in place during the two-week festive break so that pupils eligible for free meals continue to receive food.

It comes after Mr Johnson promised to do “everything in our power” to tackle holiday hunger over Christmas, but he defended his handling of the row.

Universal Credit has been increased by £20 a week, while £63 million was announced in June by ministers to help councils feed vulnerable families.

The Prime Minister highlighted the money given to councils and said Universal Credit is “one of the best ways you can help families in this tough time”.