Downing Street Reportedly Cancels Plans To Invite England Squad Amid Racism Backlash
Downing Street has reportedly cancelled plans for the England squad to meet with Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week, amid growing backlash over Conservative opposition to players taking the knee.
Sources told The Guardian that plans had been ‘shelved’ in favour of a speech set to be given by the PM on plans for ‘levelling up’ the country post-COVID.
The news comes a day after England defender Tyrone Mings accused Home Secretary Priti Patel of hypocrisy after she condemned racist abuse suffered by players following their defeat in the Euro 2020 final, having previously said fans were entitled to boo players taking the knee.
In a tweet Mings told Patel, ‘You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.’
Sources did not confirm whether the decision to cancel the reception was linked to Mings’ tweet, and neither Patel’s office or Number 10 have commented on the backlash. However, ahead of the final of the Euros, questions had been raised over whether players would be willing to meet with Boris Johnson, with the prime minister also having failed to condemn fans who booed the anti-racism protest.
Over the past week, Conservative politicians have been accused of ‘bandwagon-jumping’ on the back of England’s run to their first major tournament final in 55 years, with many having spent the weeks leading up to the tournament criticising players for speaking out against racism.
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