Boris SNUBS England team – scheduled visit to Downing Street cancelled amid racism storm

BBC Breakfast: Walker grills Barclay over Mings’ Patel criticism

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Guardian political correspondent Aubrey Allegretti tweeted:I’m told that plans to have the England team to Downing Street for a reception this week have been shelved, with attention turning instead to the PM’s levelling up speech in a few days.” The reports follow Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings’ criticism of Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier today.


Referring to Ms Patel’s comments prior to the start of the tournament about players taking the knee, Mings tweeted: “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.”

Mings was speaking after England trio Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were subjected to racist abuse on social media after missing penalties in Sunday’s shootout against Italy, which England lost 3-2.

in addition, a mural in honour of Rashford in recognition of his work to combat child food poverty was defaced in Manchester.

Tory MP Johnny Mercer today broke ranks to express his solidarity with Mings, tweeting: “The painful truth is that this guy is completely right.

“Very uncomfortable with the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into.

“Do I fight it or stay silent? Modern Conservatism was always so much more to me. We must not lose our way.”

Last month, Ms Patel declined to condemn fans who booed players as they took the knee in protest against racial injustice at the beginning of matches.

She told GB News: “I just don’t support people participating in that type of gesture, gesture politics, to a certain extent, as well.”

And on whether England fans were right to boo the national team, she said: “That’s a choice for them, quite frankly.”

Former Tory Party chairwoman Baroness Warsi also criticised Ms Patel, claiming the Home Secretary and the Government were guilty of “dog whistle” politics.

Labour also accused the Prime Minister of a failure of leadership over a delay in criticising the booing last month, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying his “words today ring hollow”.

No 10 defended Mr Johnson and Ms Patel, saying the Prime Minister had urged the nation to support the team and not boo before England’s first game.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Home Secretary is working every day to clamp down on hate crime, racism and violence.

With respect to the Prime Minister, the spokesman said Mr Johnson had opened a meeting of his Cabinet today by condemning the racist attacks players were targeted with.

He added: “He said the abuse was utterly disgraceful and had emerged from the dark spaces of the internet.”

“He said he would use today’s meeting with social media firms to reiterate the urgent need for action ahead of tougher laws coming into force through the Online Harms Bill.” has contacted Number 10 for comment with respect to claims the meeting with England players had been shelved.

(More to follow)

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