Culture secretary

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries confuses rugby league and rugby union during a speech at a World Cup | Political news

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries dropped the ball at a rugby event – mixing up the sport’s rival codes.

Ms Dorries, whose departmental remit covers sport, sought to illustrate her enthusiasm for rugby league by recalling watching Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal for England in 2003 – who won the Rugby World Cup rugby union.

The two codes have operated separately since 1895, when rugby league – which has its roots in the north of England – split from then amateur rugby union to launch a new professional competition.

Politics Hub: PM offers ambiguous answer to snap general election question

The main differences between the codes include the number of players in each team: rugby union has 15 on each side while rugby league has 13.

Ms Dorries told the event in St Helens – the heart of rugby league: “I’ve always really liked the idea of ​​rugby league. My long-standing memory is that drop goal from 2003.

“I’ll let you in on a secret. I think we were drinking Bloody Marys at the time. It was 11am, but wow what a time it was.”

This is the latest blunder by Ms Dorries following a much-mocked TikTok video in which she spoke about her responsibilities as head of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

They apparently included responsibility for super-fast broadband so people could “stream” movies as well as “tennis courts” in communities.

The Culture Secretary’s most recent comments came at the launch of a report on the social impact of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup to be held in England in October and November.

She was perhaps on firmer ground drawing comparisons between “incredibly physical and sometimes brutal sport” and the world of politics.

“I think we have a lot in common and given that a lot of the media likes to call me the Prime Minister’s attack dog, I sometimes wonder if I should give rugby a try,” she said.

Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer declined to criticize the Secretary of State for her confusion, preferring to thank the government for their £25million backing.

He said: “I’m not going to dwell on that. It’s great that she’s here and we’ve had fantastic support from the government. I’m not going to spoil any of that.

“She is lucky to see us for who we really are and it is good for her to have come.”

Ms Dorries later acknowledged her gaffe in a Twitter post referring to a player who showed up for teams in both forms of play.

She said: “Like Jason Robinson, I may have changed the code in my speech… The league and the union have a rich heritage in the UK.

“Obviously I’ve followed rugby league a lot less in my life, but I can’t wait to see England (and all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this autumn.”

In 2021 Ms Dorries, who is from Liverpool, spoke in parliament about her interest in ‘football as well as rugby league’