Gavin Williamson has claimed he’s met England football star Marcus Rashford – but he’s actually met England rugby player Maro Itoje.
In an interview with the Evening Standard, the embattled education secretary – who many believe will be sacked from his brief in the coming weeks – was asked whether he’d met the campaigning Manchester United striker.
“We met over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming,” Williamson said. But, the Standard reported, a member of the minister’s team clarified that he’d actually met rugby player Maro Itoje.
The report continued: “Rashford’s spokesperson confirms that he has never had any direct communication with Williamson, although the minister did have a call with Itjoe about equal access to education during the pandemic.”
This is unfortunate…— Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 8, 2021
‘Has Gavin Williamson ever met Marcus Rashford? “We met over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming”. Later Williamson’s team tell me he actually met the rugby player Maro Itoje, not Rashford.’https://t.co/Ya5NvtuLgn
Boris Johnson last night refused to answer questions over whether he will make changes to his Cabinet in the coming days.
Persistent speculation has suggested that the prime minister is preparing a wider reshuffle to clear out underperforming senior ministers.
Reports have suggested that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab could be moved in response to his handling of the Afghanistan crisis, with Williamson also tipped to be at risk.
Both have seen a drop in their rating in the Cabinet approval league table run by website ConservativeHome.
But the prime minister would not be drawn on the rumours at a press conference on Tuesday to coincide with announcements on social care.
Johnson was asked by multiple journalists whether he would be conducting a reshuffle, but on each occasion failed to respond to the question.
Closing the briefing, he said if he had avoided questions on “more political matters” it was “because this is a press conference that is focused on, I think, what matters to the people of this country, which is building back better from Covid, fixing the backlogs in our NHS and fixing social care at the same time.”
The Sunday Times reported that a reshuffle could take place this week to act as a distraction to the expected social care row. Downing Street previously said there were “no plans for any reshuffle”.
Marcus Rashford responded on Twitter.
Accent could have been a giveaway ? https://t.co/CO2oQjiZZ6— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) September 8, 2021