Leading MP Vince Cable was on hand last week to help launch the Harlequins Rugby League Foundation at the House of Commons.

Cable, Liberal Democrat MP for Twickenham and a keen fan of the 13-man game, hosted the event along with Quins General Manager Paul Blanchard and a handful of first-team regulars, including skipper Rob Purdham.

The Foundation is designed to spread the gospel of the game throughout the London communities and has been designated as a charitable trust to aid the difficult process.

And, in front of over 100 assembled guests that included police, politicians and members of the media, Cable revealed this was no mere publicity stunt for him.

He explained: “My grandfather was a massive fan of Rugby League so in many ways I was reared on the game.

“He was a railwayman who couldn’t afford to play amateur rugby, so I used to support York and the sport as a whole.

“Everyone involved in the sport of rugby league is at peak fitness and that is something we really need from a public health point of view, so I very much welcome the contribution the Foundation makes in that area.

“We all know how difficult it is to transplant rugby league outside the heartlands but now we have a club that is embedded and successful.

“The club does considerable good in my constituency of Twickenham through the local community and I would like to pay tribute to that.

“I welcome the breakout into further activities through the Foundation which is a really big step forward.”

The Foundation, which aims to improve standards in health, education and safety, already interacts with 20,000 children from the London area each year.

And GM Blanchard reckons that number is just the beginning.

He said: “We currently reach thousands of people each year and the aim is to grow that figure significantly.

“The intentions are to inspire London’s communities and enhance people’s lives - simple words but big objectives and we intend to achieve them through the power of sport.”