'Is Gavin Williamson racist or incompetent?' Nick Ferrari puts a minister on the spot

9 September 2021, 09:08 | Updated: 9 September 2021, 09:12

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This is the moment Nick Ferrari was accused of trying to "trap" a politician over a question about Gavin Williamson.

The Education Secretary said on Wednesday that he made a "genuine mistake" in an interview with the Evening Standard when he said he had met Mr Rashford online, when he meant Mr Itoje.

Both sportsmen are black, prompting accusations of racism, leading Nick Ferrari to grill Care Minister Helen Whately over the case.

Read more: Gavin Williamson admits 'mistake' after confusing Marcus Rashford for black rugby player

"Is he racist or incompetent?"

Stuttering slightly, the minister said she had "seen no more of this than what you have seen."

"What more do you need," Nick shot back. Pointing out Mr Williamson had "mixed up two prominent black English sportsmen."

Repeating his question, Nick again asked: "Is this through incompetence, or racism?"

"I don't know," was the minister's immediate answer.

She told Nick the Education Secretary had given an explanation already.

But, the minister said she "can't believe for a moment" that Mr Williamson is racist, "I think that's highly unlikely."

"So, it's incompetence then?" Nick shot back.

Refusing to answer, the minister said Nick was offering her a "false choice."

"You've given me a false choice, you're trying to put me into a trap to say whether it's one thing or the other."

She added: "I don't accept the choice that you've offered me there; what I'll say is Gavin has said what's happened, there's not a lot more I can say."