According to The Minister, She Doesn’t Know Whether Gavin Williamson Is Racist or Incompetent

Boris Johnson’s care minister has said that she “doesn’t know” if Gavin Williamson, the under-fire education secretary, is racist or inept.

Mr. Williamson has apologized for making a “real error” in an interview when he mistook England player Marcus Rashford for England rugby star Maro Itoje.

MPs have slammed the education secretary, accusing him of being “clueless” and “ignorant” over the blunder.

“Honestly, I don’t know,” care minister Helen Whately remarked on LBC when asked whether Mr. Williamson was racist or inept.

 “So that may be racism?” said presenter Nick Ferrari again. “I don’t think for a second that he is,” the minister said.

“So he’s incompetent then,” the LBC host said. “It’s not always one or the other,” the minister pushed back. You’re attempting to catch me off guard by saying it’s either one or the other.”

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The row erupted when Mr. Williamson told the Evening Standard that he had met Mr. Rashford, the man who caused the government to reverse its position on free school meals, during a Zoom meeting.

gavin williamson controversy

Mr. Itoje, an England rugby player who has fought for governments to reduce the digital gap, had met him.

“Towards the conclusion of a wide-ranging interview in which I discussed both the laptops and school food campaigns, I muddled the subjects and made a real error,” the education department said.

“It is distressing that in 2021 one black guy – who has achieved the peak of his sport and has given so much back to society – is mistaken so readily with another by the education minister,” Labour’s shadow justice secretary David Lammy said.


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 “Gavin Williamson must be the most uneducated, naive, and inept education secretary in the UK’s history,” the Labour MP continued.

With jokes, Mr. Rashford and Mr. Itoje have made light of the minister’s blunder. “Accent may have been a giveaway,” the Manchester star wrote, adding a laughing emoji.

“Maro and Marcus are two highly successful young black men, but there is nothing else they have in common,” a representative for Mr. Rashford said in a more direct statement.

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During a Sky News interview in June of last year, then-health minister Matt Hancock made the mistake of calling Rashford “Daniel.”

 Mr. Williamson’s gaffe occurred as allegations surfaced that Boris Johnson is contemplating replacing him in the next reshuffle.

“If reports of a looming reshuffle are genuine, this must certainly be the last nail in Gavin Williamson’s coffin as a ministerial candidate,” Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper said.

 There are no plans for a reshuffle, according to the PM’s press secretary, although Mr. Johnson will work from Downing Street on Thursday.