sport news The hounding of BBC's Guy Mowbray is not what Marcus Rashford's brilliant ...

It is hard to be categorically sure of BBC football commentator Guy Mowbray's views on Government social policy because it's not exactly in his job description to declare on the issue. If you were betting on it, though, you'd put him in the Marcus Rashford camp when it comes to the welfare of Britain's poorest children.

Mowbray's description of his view from the TV gantry at Newcastle United's St James' Park in June – a few months before the BBC's new director general Tim Davie stamped on journalists issuing opinions which might be deemed political – implied a scepticism about the some aspects of the Conservative government. 

'You can see for miles and miles,' Mowbray told Match of the Day viewers. 'Probably as far as Barnard Castle - if your eyesight's good enough.'

Match of the Day commentary Guy Mowbray quit Twitter after receiving backlash online having remained impartial when discussing Marcus Rashford's bid to end child food poverty

Match of the Day commentary Guy Mowbray quit Twitter after receiving backlash online having remained impartial when discussing Marcus Rashford's bid to end child food poverty

Rashford's campaign is vital and must not be lost amid preposterous abuse at a commentator

Rashford's campaign is vital and must not be lost amid preposterous abuse at a commentator

He's a parent. And comments about him offered by a few colleagues these past few days have told us something else. 'I know what he represents as a person. Gutted he ends up facing the wrath of the people he agrees with,' said one.

Mowbray incurred that wrath – a social media annihilation – for having the temerity to NOT express an opinion on Rashford's campaign, during Match of the Day's highlights of v Chelsea last Saturday.

'Whether you agree with Marcus Rashford's causes or not, there's surely only admiration for his continued commitment,' were Mowbray's 17 offending words. Not the most elegant ever from one of Britain's best commentators, but his first draft had been through the mincer - changed at programme editors' request, to conform with BBC editorial guidelines forbidding the endorsement of campaigns.

Rashford fronts a new child poverty task force to ensure children are fed over the holidays

Rashford fronts a new child poverty task force to ensure children are fed over the holidays

By Sunday, Mowbray had been driven off Twitter altogether because of his supposed indifference - 'What is the alternative view to feeding hungry kids, Guy?' – and unable to take any more hate. 

And since this is what you incur for not expressing a view, it requires little imagination to know what the Conservative MPs who voted against a recent Labour bill pressing Rashford's case have experienced. Blyth Valley Conservative MP Ian Levy told the Newcastle Chronicle of physical threats.

It's hard to find common ground with Levy and the other Tories who voted down the bill. Rashford is asking for an additional £120m of Government welfare spending at a time when some consultants employed on the Government's disastrous Test and Trace system are trousering £7,500-a-day. 

But that does not mean that those who do not stand with Rashford - or do not issue an unequivocal expression of support - should be hounded into silence and shut down.

The issues Rashford raise are more important than that - and too significant to render a candid

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