Marcus Rashford: Dover MP Natalie Elphicke apologises over penalty comments

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Marcus RashfordImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Marcus Rashford was one of three England players to miss during the penalty shootout

A Conservative MP has apologised after suggesting Marcus Rashford should have spent more time "perfecting his game" rather than "playing politics".

Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover and Deal, made the comment in a message to MPs after the Euro 2020 final.

Rashford was one of three England players who missed penalties at the end of the match on Sunday.

The England footballer last year waged a high-profile campaign over the provision of free school meals.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced into a U-turn over the issue.

In a private message to her colleagues, Ms Elphicke said: "They lost - would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics."

Image source, Press Eye
Image caption,
Natalie Elphicke said she was sharing the country's "frustration and heartbreak"

The MP apologised after the message was reported by GB News.

She said: "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 focused on his football."

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "While the country was commiserating [with] our great team, Tory MPs were sneering at the inspirational players who stepped up to feed hungry kids when they voted to leave them without food."

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