Matt Hancock was forced to explain himself after appearing to wear a Newcastle shirt that was sold for an NHS charity three years ago.
The West Suffolk Member of Parliament posted a video of himself on TikTok prior to the Carabao Cup final between Manchester United and Newcastle on Sunday.
It showed the Chester-born politician portraying his love for the Magpies, wearing a Newcastle shirt and urging Eddie Howe’s men to bring home the trophy.
However, it has since emerged that Hancock was wearing the same shirt that was donated to an online auction in 2020 to help raise funds for NHS scrubs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Viewers called out the 44-year-old and he revealed in another TikTok post on Monday that he was gifted the shirt back after selling it.
He said: “A load of people have been in contact about my shirt that I was wearing last night and they spotted it’s the same one that I auctioned for charity a couple of years ago.
“What happened was the guy who bought it then gave it back to me as a gift, which is really kind of him.
“I’m very grateful. So I’ve still got my beloved signed shirt.”
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This was echoed by his spokesperson, who said: “Matt put his signed Newcastle football shirt up for sale as part of Chris Evans’s NHS charity appeal to raise money for scrubs, but the person who bought it very kindly gave Matt’s beloved shirt back to him as a gift.”
Hancock has already courted controversy in the recent past, having appeared on I’m A Celebrity, where he finished third.
It came just a year after having to resign as health secretary following a scandal when pictures emerged of him kissing a colleague and breaching social distancing rules, that he implemented while in charge.
Hancock, who was born in Chester and is the MP for West Suffolk, accredits his love of Newcastle to his uncle Dave, saying: “It was because of him that I am now a lifelong supporter and fan of Newcastle United.”
However, the Red Devils emerged victorious on Sunday to win the Carabao Cup as goals from Casemiro and Marcus Rashford downed Howe’s men.
It is quite the achievement for Erik ten Hag, who has won the first trophy available to him in England after arriving at Old Trafford in the summer.
It also keeps United’s dream of a potential quadruple alive as they remain in the hunt for the FA Cup, Premier League and the Europa League.