The Conservative MP who accused Marcus Rashford of “playing politics” and said he should stick to football has a second job herself, it has been revealed.
Natalie Elphicke, MP for Dover, criticised the Manchester United and England footballer in July after he missed a crucial penalty in the Euro 2020 final.
After the match, she sent a private message to colleagues suggesting he stuck to his day job rather than calling on the government to act over free school meals and campaigning against child food poverty.
She wrote: “They lost – would it be ungenerous to say Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics.”
But it has since been revealed that Elphicke, who earns £82,000 as an MP, also gets £36,000 a year from her role as chair of the New Homes Quality Board.
She says in the register of members’ interests that her role on the board, which is “an industry-led initiative to promote a new code for housebuilding standards together with a structure for an independent New Homes Ombudsman”, takes around eight hours a week for which she is paid £3,000 a month. The news was first reported by the i newspaper.
Following Elphicke’s criticism over the Euro 2020 match, Rashford wrote in The Spectator: “Disappointingly for some, the ‘stick to football’ advice doesn’t cut it where I’m from. I’d be doing [my] community and my family a disservice if I did not use my platform to speak on behalf of the millions whose voices are not being heard.”
Elphicke apologised for the message and said that she regretted her “rash reaction about Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty”.
The Labour deputy leader, Angela Rayner, told the i news site: “Boris Johnson needs to decide whether his MPs are MPs representing their constituents or if they are advisers and consultants working for private interests who pay them. They can’t be both.”
The Guardian has approached Elphicke for comment.