The top Tory waxed lyrical about a Zoom call with Rashford during an interview – only to later allegedly clarify he had spoken to
Top Tory Gavin Williamson appears to have confused footballer Marcus Rashford with rugby player Maro Itoje during an interview.
The Education Secretary heaped praised on the campaigning footballer after Rashford called for an urgent review of free school meals in January.
Mr Williamson told the Evening Standard: “We met over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming but then he had to shoot off.
“I didn’t want to be the one that was holding him back from his training.”
However, according to the newspaper Mr Williamson’s team later clarified he had in fact met the rugby player Maro Itoje, not Rashford.
Marcus Rashford laughed it off reacting to the story with a crying laughing emoji on Twitter.
Rashford tweeted: “Accent could have been a giveaway.”
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said the mix up is a “daily reminder of how mediocre white men rise and rise.”
She wrote on Twitter: “According to @GavinWilliamsonn a black man from Wythenshawe who plays football for England looks the same as a black man from North London who plays rugby for England.
” The fact that Gavin Williamson remains in his job is a daily reminder of how mediocre white men rise and rise.”
Saracens and England player Itoje has campaigned to close the “digital divide”, helping more school-age children gain access to laptops and tablets.
A spokesperson for Rashford told the Evening Standard he had never had any direct communication with Mr Williamson.
Mancunian Rashford today appeared to confirm the version of events, tweeting with a tears of laughter emoji: “Accent could have been a giveaway.”
It comes amid speculation Mr Williamson will be demoted by Boris Johnson in a pre-Tory conference reshuffle following chaos around schools.
But Boris Johnson insisted today: “The Education Secretary has done a heroic job.”