Gavin Williamson mixes up Marcus Rashford and Black rugby star Maro Itoje: 'Was it the accent?'

Marcus Rashford (left) and rugby star Mario Itoje. (PA)
Marcus Rashford (left) and rugby star Maro Itoje. (PA)

Marcus Rashford has mocked Gavin Williamson after the education secretary appeared to confuse the campaigning footballer with Black rugby player Maro Itoje.

Asked if he had met Rashford, who forced the government to U-turn on free school meals provision during the pandemic, 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.”

Williamson’s advisers later told the Standard he had met Itoje.

Reacting to the story with a crying laughing emoji, Rashford tweeted: “Accent could have been a giveaway”.

Itoje, the second row England rugby star from London, is about 6ft 6in and weighs approximately 110kg.

Rashford, from Manchester, is significantly slimmer - about 70kg - and is around six inches shorter than Itoje.

Others were less forgiving toward the Education Secretary, who is widely tipped to be sacked in the next Cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

Labour MP Zarah Sultana branded Williamson “a joke”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson answering questions from MPs on the House of Commons Education Committee in Westminster, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

Yahoo News UK has asked the Department for Education to explain why Williamson made the mistake.

Rashford has been a high-profile campaigner around the issue of child poverty and child hunger.

Earlier this year he forced the government to perform a U-turn on free school meals.

In August, he urged health professionals to help get more families in need signed up to a Government-backed food voucher scheme.

Away from rugby, Itoje describes himself as a racial justice campaigner and the Founding Director of the 4FrontProject, an organisation that empowers young people and communities to fight for justice, peace and freedom.