The comment effectively confirmed reports that the prime minister failed to respond to a letter in September in which the Manchester United and England striker appealed for “teamwork” to deal with the problem in the long term.
Rashford dismissed a claim by health secretary Matt Hancock that the prime minister had communicated with him over his calls for free school meals to be funded through the October half-term and Christmas holiday.
In a tweet responding to Mr Hancock’s claim, the footballer said: “Hmm, unless he’s referring to the call we had following the U-turn in June?…”
Mr Johnson called Rashford in mid-June after executing a humbling about-turn on school meals, agreeing to extend a voucher scheme introduced at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak to cover the summer holidays.
At the time, the PM bizarrely claimed not to have been aware previously of the footballer’s campaign, despite it dominating news headlines for a number of days.
It emerged at the weekend that Rashford wrote a private letter to Johnson in September, warning that vouchers were only a short-term solution and urging the PM to join a taskforce he had created to tackle child food poverty.
It is understood that he received no response.
In a round of media interviews today, Mr Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “We have all seen what Marcus Rashford has done, and the way he has conducted himself in this campaign I think is absolutely exemplary.
“He is making an argument based on his personal experience for the benefit of people who really need that support.”
And he added: “There has been communication between the two, as far as I understand it.”
Hmm, unless he’s referring to the call we had following the u-turn in June?... https://t.co/QSwmyETN7x
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 26, 2020
Pressed on the response from Number 10, Mr Hancock added: “I’m not in charge of the Prime Minister’s correspondence – if there hasn’t been, I’m sure that that will be followed up.”
The comments came amid speculation that Mr Johnson is about to effect a climbdown from his refusal to offer state funding to help feed vulnerable children, and may be drawing up a scheme to provide assistance during the Christmas break.