Anger as education secretary mistakes Marcus Rashford for England rugby player

Education secretary Gavin Williamson was condemned as “unfit” for his post after he reportedly mixed up Marcus Rashford with England rugby player Maro Itoje.

The South Staffordshire MP was said to have told the London Evening Standard he had a conversation with the Manchester United and England footballer and renowned food poverty campaigner.

But his advisors reportedly later clarified that he had in fact spoken to Itoje.

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Rashford laughed off Mr Williamson’s gaffe as he tweeted: “Accent could have been a giveaway.”

But others were less forgiving. Birmingham comedian and GMB presenter Adil Ray tweeted: “How do you not know if you’ve met Marcus Rashford or not?

“‘Oh he’s black, yes I met one once’. It’s an insult. He should know Marcus inside out, the man who fed the kids he tries to educate. He should want to meet him. This absolute charlatan is unfit for the job.”

Others agreed on Twitter. One person said: “Either his briefing team is inept or this guy lives in a hermetically-sealed environment.

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy wrote on Twitter: “This is appalling. Gavin Williamson, what was it about Maro Itoje that made you mistake him for Marcus Rashford?

“You must be the most ignorant, clueless and incapable Education Secretary in the UK’s history.”

Mr Williamson had spoken to the Standard about “closing the gap on private and state educated schools”.

Adil Ray

He said: “Education is the single most important thing we can do to make that transformation in the levelling-up agenda. So much of that is about culture, high expectations, discipline.

“There is nothing more depressing than when you arrive at a school and the first thing a headteacher says is, you have to understand because of where our children come from this is what we can deliver.

“My argument is that whatever background they come from they have a right to the best in education.”

Asked by the Standard whether he had met Rashford, he said: “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.”

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