The Rugby Premiership has responded to a letter from Sir Vince Cable urging the Gallagher sponsorship deal to be reconsidered

Premiership Rugby will continue its sponsorship arrangement with Gallagher.

This is despite racist language revealed during court proceedings to have been used by senior management.

Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable had written to Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty last week, urging him to review Gallagher’s sponsorship in light of the comments.

These included Gallagher UK chief executive referring to a departing employee as a “complicated fat Arab” in a WhatsApp conversation with Gallagher-owned Alesco’s chief operating officer Gary Lashmar. Lashmar was heard at court to have responded in the WhatsApp exchange “and a very greedy one at that”.

But a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said it would continue its arrangement with Gallagher, as it was confident the incident does not represent the company’s beliefs.

“We have written to Mr Cable in response to his letter,” said a Premiership Rugby spokesperson. “We agree that there is no place for discriminatory language of any kind in sport or in business and this is a viewpoint shared by Gallagher and indeed by all our partners.

“The messages which have been made public through the trial proceedings pre-date our relationship with Gallagher but we know the individuals involved have expressed their deep regret and apologised for the choice of language and the offence this has caused.

“Premiership Rugby’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity is well known and well documented. We expect all our partners to share that commitment, as we know Gallagher does and has already demonstrated through our partnership.

“We are confident that this incident does not represent the company’s or leadership’s beliefs or culture and will not impact our future relationship with them.”