Tory backbencher was forced to backtrack today after a horrific own goal attack on England star Marcus Rashford over his missed Euro 2020 penalty.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke suggested the Manchester United star should have practised spot kicks instead of campaigning for free meals for deprived schoolchildren during lockdown.
Ms Elphicke, a 50 year-old mother-of-two, has been MP for Dover since 2019, when she replaced her now ex-husband, Charlie, who was jailed last year for three sex attacks on two women.
She made the remark in a Tory MP WhatsApp group after the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 defeat on penalties to Italy at Wembley last night.
Manchester United striker Rashford was one of three England players to miss in the deciding shoot-out in the Three Lions’ first major final in 55 years.
In a message first revealed by GB News, Mrs Elphicke told other Tories: ‘They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics.(sic)’
But today, after her comments were leaked and widely criticised she took to Twitter to heap praise on the team.
‘Last night I shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of England fans,’ she said.
‘The team gave their all. Congratulations and onwards to the World Cup!’
Last night I shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of England fans. The team gave their all. Congratulations and onwards to the World Cup! https://t.co/xKK7RjgOKn— Natalie Elphicke MP (@NatalieElphicke) July 12, 2021
What’s funny is the fact that Rashford took no time off from work (football practice) yet was able to not only play for Premier League club Manchester United and the England national team but to do the job we employ Natalie Elphickeand other MPs for them, like ensuring to the good welfare of our society and children.
Labour MP Diane Abbott criticised “there’s no excuse for Natalie” after a leaked WhatsApp message showed Conservative MP Natalie Elphicke sending a message to other MPs about Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty.
Diane Abbott also criticised the racist abuse that England’s football players have received after the Euro 2020 final, arguing that social media companies need to do more to tackle it.
“Social media companies should be prepared to report this to the police,” she said. “They are making millions and they have more responsibility than allowing violent, racist, misogynist people to post on their platforms with no comeback.”
Gareth Southgate described the racist online abuse directed at some of England’s players after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy as “unforgivable”.
Labour’s Warrington North MP Charlotte Nichols responded, saying: ‘When Natalie Elphicke has fed as many hungry children as Marcus Rashford, or done as much to inspire the nation, then she can slag him off all she likes.
‘But until then, pipe down and wind your neck in.’
Greater Manchester MP Barbara Keeley added: ‘Marcus Rashford campaigned for millions of children last year ensuring they were not left hungry by this Tory Govt during the pandemic.
‘He is a great ambassador for our country on & off the pitch. People in Greater Manchester & across the country are very proud of him.’
Rashford was made an MBE in October last year in recognition of his work in feeding underprivileged children, which included forcing Boris Johnson into a U-turn over providing free school meal vouchers for 1.3million kids during the summer holidays.
The final with Italy finished 1-1 after extra time, but three missed spot-kicks by Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka handed the trophy to the Azzurri and saw the Three Lions miss out on their first major tournament victory since 1966.
Fans are still coming to terms with the dramatic end to the match which was watched by around 70,000 in the crowd at Wembley, with roads and railways deserted as people stayed home today.