Tory MP Natalie Elphicke has backtracked on comments criticising England forward Marcus Rashford for missing a penalty in last night’s Euro 2020 final.
The Dover MP said in a private message to a Conservative WhatsApp group last night that Rashford should have spent more time practicing penalties than politics in reference to the footballer’s campaigning on child poverty.
Elphicke backtracked on her message this morning, while not apologising, tweeting that she “shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of England fans” last night.
She added: “The team gave their all. Congratulations and onwards to the World Cup!”
Rashford was one of three England players to miss in the penalty shootout loss to Italy at Wembley.
The trio have received a torrent of racist abuse on social media today, sparking outrage from politicians, sporting figures and the Royal Family.
Rashford has been lauded during the pandemic for his work to keep free school meals going during lockdowns.
In a message shared with GB News, Elphicke said: “They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics?”
Elphicke’s comments were widely criticised, including by fellow Conservative MPs.
North Dorset MP Simon Hoare tweeted: “Would it be ungenerous? Yes. Unwarranted? Yes. Wrong? Yes.”