Gavin Williamson boasts about meeting Marcus Rashford – but it was actually England rugby pro Maro Itoje

GAVIN Williamson boasted about meeting Marcus Rashford – but it was actually England rugby ace Maro Itoje.

The hopeless Education Secretary said he enjoyed chatting with the “charming” Man Utd ace on a Zoom call, before aides revealed it was the 6ft 6 lock.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is facing a race row


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is facing a race rowCredit: Alamy
England rugby player Maro Itoje


England rugby player Maro ItojeCredit: Getty
England footballing hero Marcus Rashford


England footballing hero Marcus RashfordCredit: PA

Although the Three Lions star today appeared to laugh off the gaffe, the Cabinet Minister faced a blazing race row with rivals branding it the “final nail in he coffin” for his career.

He confused the sportsmen during a grilling about the Government’s U-turn on free school meals – a cause championed by Rashford.

Asked if he had met the campaigning footie pro, he 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.”

But his aides later admitted to the paper he had actually been chatting to England and Saracens lock Itoje.

Manchester-born Rashford tweeted: “Accent could have been a giveaway” with a laughing emoji.

Itoje meanwhile is from London – and is also significantly bigger than the footballer.

While Rashford is 5ft 11 and weighs 154lbs, muscular forward Itoje towers at 6ft 6 and weighs 240lbs


Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy fumed: “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.”

Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper raged: “Now he has confused two black sporting heroes and failed to recognise Marcus Rashford, who has led the charge on fighting child poverty.  

“If rumours of an imminent reshuffle are true, this must surely be the final nail in the coffin for Gavin Williamson holding ministerial office ever again.”

A string of schools sagas such as the exams fiasco has put Mr Williamson in the firing line and seen him tipped for demotion at the next reshuffle.

Boris Johnson today threw a protective arm around his embattled minister during prime minister’s questions.

Asked if his Mr Williamson was fit for office, the PM hailed the “heroic job” his education secretary was doing “in very difficult circumstances”.


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