Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has claimed Australia and New Zealand have withdrawn from the Rugby League World Cup because they are scared of losing.
Rees-Mogg, made the joke amid concerns in the British Parliament over the two countries’ decision to pull out of the tournament, the Canberra Times has reported.
Labour’s Judith Cummins, currently acting as a temporary deputy leader, also waded into the argument, stating that Australia and New Zealand have “bottled it”.
Australia and New Zealand have faced a backlash throughout Britain over their decision to pull out to COVID reasons, believing that the UK’s worsening situation has made it “too unsafe to send teams and staff over”.
Rees-Mogg told shadow Commons leader Thangam Debbonaire: “She mentions rugby league and the fact the Australians and New Zealanders think they’re going to lose and therefore have pulled out.
“I must confess that this is rather sad, isn’t it?
“I always thought the Australians, of all people – one of the countries which we in this House love most – are never ones to pull out of a competition but they think they’re going to lose, so they’re staying at home.
“That is a pity and I’m sure the rugby league will run the competition with enormous effectiveness and ensuring COVID security is followed.”