The health secretary has explained why he accidentally called Marcus Rashford “Daniel” while praising him on Sky News for leading a campaign to extend free school meals.
Matt Hancock made the slip of the tongue speaking to Kay [email protected] as he explained why the government U-turned to support the England footballer’s plea.
Rashford, 22, succeeded in convincing Boris Johnson to extend free school meals to children from disadvantaged backgrounds through the summer holidays.
Asked why the government changed its mind after initially refusing, Mr Hancock said: “I’ll tell you what happened, the prime minister talked to Daniel Rashford.
“He considered it and made his decision.
“I think it’s terrific.”
The minister later told radio station LBC that his child’s fondness for JK Rowling novels may have been to blame and “maybe I had Harry Potter on the mind”.
Mr Hancock later explained confusing Rashford’s first name by suggesting he had the Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe on his mind.
“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,” he told LBC.
Mr Hancock suggested it had been “too early in the morning” and laughed as he told BBC Breakfast: “I completely misspoke.”
Manchester United striker Rashford, 22, appeared to joke about the incident, responding on Twitter by saying “I’ve been called much worse over the last couple of days” with a laughing face emoji.
Mr Hancock replied with a head in hands emoji and added: “Too early. But in all seriousness Marcus you’re a credit to the nation.”
Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy gave a light-hearted response: “Good to see Matt Hancock giving Daniel Rashford the praise he deserves. A true Manchester Athletic fan.”
Rashford has spoken to Sky Sports News about why he launched the campaign in the first place, as someone whose family used to rely on free school meals.
He said he hopes he can use his profile to help change society for the better and that people are now “willing to make that first step towards being heard”.
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