Health secretary Matt Hancock caused embarrassment for the government when he referred to football hero Marcus Rashford as “Daniel” during a live TV interview.
Hancock was speaking on Sky News’ breakfast programme to discuss the Man Utd star’s success in forcing the government to extend its children’s food vouchers scheme into the summer holidays.
Denying the government had made an embarrassing U-turn, Hancock told Kay Burley: “Righty-ho, I will tell you what happened: the prime minister talked to Daniel Rashford, he considered it and made his decision – I think it’s terrific.”
Hancock later blamed the early start for wrongly praising “Daniel Rashford” for prompting the government’s U-turn on free school meals.
“I completely misspoke,” he told BBC Breakfast, laughing. “Too early in the morning.”
The England striker, 22, took the blunder in good humour, however, when responding to the video on Twitter.
I’ve been called much worse over the last couple of days 🤣— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) June 17, 2020
Rashford tweeted: “I’ve been called much worse over the last couple of days.”
“Daniel Rashford” quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter, with many mocking Hancock for his early-morning gaffe.
Own goal - Matt Hancock just praised footballer “Daniel Rashford”. Does he play for Melchester Rovers?— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) June 17, 2020
Latest example of @MattHancock’s incompetence. He’s just referred to Marcus Rashford as “Daniel Rashford” on Sky News. Everything Rashford has done and the Health Secretary doesn’t even have the decency to get his name right. Joke.— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) June 17, 2020
Marcus Rashford currently the most talked-about person in the country. Matt Hancock just referred to him as “Daniel Rashford” on Sky News.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) June 17, 2020
Hancock said he may have had "Harry Potter on the mind" when he made his slip of the tongue, referring to British actor Daniel Radcliffe.
He told LBC: "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."
Rashford has said he is planning his next move to help struggling families after his successful campaign to extend the children's food voucher scheme.
He was praised by Boris Johnson for his highly personal campaign, which forced the change in policy.
Downing Street on Tuesday announced a one-off £120m fund that will benefit some 1.3 million children in England over the six-week summer period.
Rashford told BBC Breakfast he was "shocked" by the decision, adding: "It's a big decision for someone to make and I'm just grateful that the prime minister did change his decision and he understood.
"I spoke to him and thanked him for that. It's a nice feeling but I'm just happy that people's lives, and people's summers especially, have been changed for the better."
But the player said that people are "struggling all year round" and he now wants to learn "how we can help them best" in the future.
"I think this is only going to be successful throughout the summer period so we've bought ourselves six weeks of time now to plan and figure out what's next and keep taking steps forward," said Rashford.
"I don't want this to be the end of it because there are definitely more steps that need to be taken. So we just need to analyse the response."
Rashford wrote an open letter on Monday asking the government to reverse its decision not to award free school meals vouchers to vulnerable children outside term time.
A Department for Education spokesman said later that day that the national voucher scheme was not being extended.
But, amid mounting pressure, Number 10 said on Tuesday that the government would provide a COVID Summer Food Fund to reflect the fact that families face an "unprecedented situation" over the holidays.