A Kent MP has faced a backlash after criticising Marcus Rashford following his penalty miss at the Euro 2020 Final.
Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke reportedly made the spurious remark in a leaked private message.
Mr Rashford hit the post during the penalty shootout against Italy last night, one of three young players to miss their kicks alongside Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
In the WhatsApp message reportedly to a Conservative MP group chat, Mrs Elphicke asked if it would be “ungenerous to suggest” that the Manchester United and England star “should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics”.
The comment seemingly made reference to the 23-year-old’s campaigning for free school meals during the pandemic – which earned him international renown and an MBE.
After it was leaked by GB News, the MP has faced an enormous backlash on social media, with some calling for her to resign.
Labour Deputy leader Angela Rayner responded that Rashford “wouldn’t have to [play politics] if you didn’t leave hungry kids without food.
“Imagine saying something so disgusting that a WhatsApp group of Tory MPs think it’s so disgusting that they leak it to make sure the world can see your true colours. This is beneath contempt,” she added.
Mrs Elphicke has now apologised in a message to the Telegraph, saying: “I applaud the England team who gave their all in Euro 2020. Last night I shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of other England fans.
“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 focussed on his football.
“Onwards to the World Cup and I look forward to Marcus Rashford’s contribution at that time.”
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