David Beckham was considered for a top government role as minister for sport, a former No 10 director of communications has revealed.
A “very senior” cabinet minister in David Cameron’s government recommended that the superstar footballer get the job during a cabinet reshuffle in 2013, according to the former prime minister’s spin doctor Sir Craig Oliver.
Sir Craig said he had told the minister – whom he did not name – that it was not a good idea. “I remember looking at them and saying ‘Look, hang on a minute, David Beckham, met him a couple of times, very, very nice guy.
“But I’m not sure if he’s cut out to be standing in the despatch box in the House of Lords defending government policy on sports, which can of course be quite complicated.”
The former PR boss revealed the bizarre proposal to install Mr Beckham in the Lords on the podcast What Were You Thinking? – saying he was shocked that it had been under serious consideration.
Sir Craig told the podcast: “I looked at him, thinking, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Yes, wouldn’t it be great if David Beckham was put in the House of Lords and became sports minister?’”
He added added: “It’s the morning of the reshuffle, do you seriously want me to ring up Beckham and say, ‘Hey, mate, fancy being sports minister?’”
Although Sir Craig declined to name the “very senior minister” on the podcast, The Daily Mail claimed then-chancellor George Osborne had pushed for Mr Beckham, citing Tory sources.
The PR man said he “killed” the plan by strongly advising Mr Cameron against it. “Everybody would ridicule us, and even if we got glorious coverage for it, we would end up repenting at our leisure for many, many months to come.”
The discussion came after then-sports minister Sir Hugh Robertson was given a Foreign Office role during the October 2013 reshuffle. The job eventually went to Tory MP Helen Grant.
In 2017, some of Mr Beckham’s emails were released by a group calling itself Football Leaks, which purportedly showed Mr Beckham had been hoping his humanitarian work would gain a knighthood.
But the footballer star’s representatives said the hacked emails discussing his charity work and prospective honours were used to paint a “deliberately inaccurate picture” of his views.