Gavin’s Gaffe: Education Minister confuses Maro Itoje with Marcus Rashford

In an interview blunder, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson mixed up rugby player Maro Itoje with football player Marcus Rashford.

Maro Itoje/Marcus Rashford
Maro Itoje/Marcus Rashford, via Wikimedia Commons under CC licence.

On Wednesday, the Evening Standard ran an interview with Education Minister Gavin Williamson. Journalist Susannah Butter had asked him if he’d met Marcus Rashford, following his successful campaign to extend free school meals into the holidays. Williamson answered, that he had. “We met over Zoom and he seemed incredibly engaged, compassionate and charming but then he had to shoot off.”

Except that he hadn’t.

Butter describes what then happened. “Later Williamson’s team tell me he actually met the rugby player Maro Itoje, who campaigned to bridge the digital divide, not Rashford.” This was confirmed by a spokesperson for Rashford.

The confusion might be explained by the fact both sportsmen have campaigned on behalf of disadvantaged children during last year’s lockdowns. Rashford had pushed for free school meals, and Itoje for laptops to help children in lockdown keep up with classes.

This is far from the first time Williamson has made a major gaffe. In fact he’s so prone to them, that journalists are keeping lists.

Twitter, meanwhile, saw the meme opportunities and went to town.

Maro Itoje used his Twitter account to put the record straight:

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