The UK minister was talking at a Rugby League World Cup event in St Helens

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries confuses league and union

In a gaffe that has since gone viral, the UK’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Nadine Dorries told an event to promote the Rugby League World Cup in St Helens that she had enjoyed the moment England won the 2003 Rugby World Cup – which was famously a union tournament.

Dorries said at the podium: “I’ve always quite liked the idea of rugby league. My long-standing memory is that 2003 drop-goal.

“I’ll let you into a secret. I think we were drinking Bloody Marys at the time. It was 11 o’clock in the morning but wow what a moment that was.”

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries confuses league and union

Jonny Wilkinson kicks the winning drop-goal in 2003 (Getty Images)

Realising her error, she tweeted later in the day: “Like Jason Robinson I may have switched codes in my speech. Both league and union have a rich heritage in the UK. Obviously I’ve followed rugby league much less in my lifetime, but I’m looking forward to watching England (and all the home nations) in the RL World Cup this autumn.”

Later in the speech Dorries also said: “I think we have a lot in common and given a lot of the media like to call me the prime minister’s attack dog, I wonder sometimes if I should give rugby a go.”

There will be 61 matches at the Rugby League World Cup played at venues across England, with the tournament being played between 15 October and 19 November.

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