Tory MP mocks Marcus Rashford for 'playing politics' after penalty miss

A Tory MP has mocked Marcus Rashford for “playing politics” instead of practising football after his Euro 2020 penalty miss.

A mural of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford by Street artist Akse on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington.

The England footballer has become a national hero for his campaigns to ensure the poorest children receive free school meals, and even launched a book club to encourage them to read more.

Following England’s defeat to Italy, Natalie Elphicke MP then mocked the Manchester United forward in a Whatsapp group chat with other Conservative MPs.

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The Dover MP wrote: “They lost. Would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics”.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner has now criticised the Tory MP for her comments.

She said: "While the country was commiserating our great team, Tory MPs were sneering at an inspirational player who stepped up to feed hungry kids when they voted to leave them without food.

“Whether it’s their failure to support the vulnerable, or booing our boys after they have done our whole country proud, the Nasty Party is back.

“The question every Conservative MP needs to answer is – did they call out these appalling comments?

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“And after his failure to support our players in their stance against racism, Boris Johnson must publicly condemn these disgraceful messages.

“Whose side is he on, the lion hearts on the pitch or the Tory MPs who attack them.”

Ms Elphicke has now apologised and insisted she “shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of other England fans”.

She added: “I regret messaging privately a rash reaction about Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty and apologise to him for any suggestion that he is not fully focused on his football.

“Onwards to the World Cup and I look forward to Marcus Rashford’s contribution at that time.”

Last year the Manchester United star forced a u-turn from UK Government over free school meals not being available to underprivileged children during the holidays.

As well as visiting food banks, Rashford also wrote an open letter encouraging people to tag their local MPs in order to raise awareness.

His campaign was praised by Boris Johnson, and saw an extra £120 million set aside for starving children.

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