Matt Hancock blames Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe for embarrassing Marcus Rashford TV mix-up
Matt Hancock blamed Daniel Radcliffe for the Marcus Rashford mix-up (PA)
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has apologised after calling Marcus Rashford “Daniel” as he attempted to praise the England star for his campaigning on free school meals.
After misnaming the Manchester United striker while discussing him live on Sky News, he later went on to blame the actor Daniel Radcliffe, saying “maybe I had Harry Potter on the mind”.
The 22-year-old footballer’s open letter calling for an extension to the food voucher scheme for poor children into the summer holiday led to a U-turn by Boris Johnson.
After pressure from his own MPs the Prime Minister announced a £120 million fund on Tuesday to provide food vouchers to the 1.3 million children in England currently eligible for free school meals.
Speaking about the policy change with Sky presenter Kay Burley, Mr Hancock attempted to deny the Government was bounced into it by Mr Rashford.
"Righty-ho, I will tell you what happened, the Prime Minister talked to Daniel Rashford, he considered it and made his decision - I think it's terrific,” he said.
The Health Secretary later appeared on LBC and suggested perhaps it was his child's fondness for the JK Rowling novels that was to blame for the slip, saying "maybe I had Harry Potter on the mind".
He added: "My seven-year-old listens to Harry Potter and reads Harry Potter avidly, including at 5.30 this morning when I got up to do this morning's media round.”
And on BBC Breakfast he said it had been "too early in the morning" and: "I completely misspoke.”
He was mocked by Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy, who tweeted a clip of the exchange saying: “Good to see Matt Hancock giving Daniel Rashford the praise he deserves.
“A true Manchester Athletic fan.”
The footballer himself laughed it off, tweeting: “I’ve been called much worse over the last couple of days.”
The health secretary replied: “Too early. But in all seriousness Marcus you’re a credit to the nation.”
Mr Rashford added in response: “As I said yesterday this was never about politics or me.
“The PM didn’t need to u-turn the decision but I’m thankful he did.
“I asked you to listen and you did that so on behalf of all mums likes mine, dads and carers that are struggling across the country, thank you.”