Monday, 26 Jul 2021

Priti Patel defended by ministers after Home Secretary blasted by England’s Tyrone Mings

Priti Patel says taking the knee is ‘gesture politics’

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England defender Tyrone Mings issued a strongly-worded message via Twitter and took aim at Home Secretary Priti Patel after England’s penalty-takers were racially abused following the Euro 2020 final on Sunday evening. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all failed to score in the crucial shoot-out that handed Italy the trophy at the expense of Gareth Southgate’s side.

The trio were quickly inundated with racist online abuse, with the actions of those responsible having been widely condemned in the hours since.

Following the horrendous abuse, Ms Patel said she was “disgusted” by the racism aimed at England’s penalty-takers.

However, the Home Secretary was hit by a barrage of criticism after previously branding taking the knee as “gesture politics”.

In a reply to the Home Secretary’s tweet, Mings said: “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.”

Now, the Prime Minister has defended Ms Patel – who has yet to respond to Mings’ comments.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Home Secretary has been clear there is no place for racism in our country and that is why she is backing the police to hold those responsible accountable.”

In response to Mings’ comments that Ms Patel had “stoked flames of racism”, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said the Home Secretary is working to “clamp down” on hate crime.

He said: “The Prime Minister called for the nation to get behind and support the players, to cheer and not boo, before England had played a game in the tournament.

“The Home Secretary is working every day to clamp down on hate crime, racism and violence.

“There is no place for racism in this country and she is backing the police to hold those responsible for this abuse accountable.”

Ms Patel was also targeted by her own party with Baroness Warsi saying the Conservatives need to “think about our role in feeding this culture”.

She tweeted: “Priti -we as govt, as @Conservatives need to think about our role in feeding this culture in our country.

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“If we ‘whistle’ & the ‘dog’ reacts we can’t be shocked if it barks & bites.

“It’s time to stop the culture wars that are feeding division.

“Dog whistles win votes but destroy nations.”

Addressing the racist abuse, England manager Gareth Southgate slammed the culprits and praised Saka, who was chosen to take the decisive penalty.

He said: “For some of [the players] to be abused is unforgivable really.

“I know a lot has come from abroad.

“People who track those things have been able to explain that. But not all of it.

“It’s just not what we stand for. We have been a beacon of light in bringing people together in people being able to relate to the national team, and the national team stands for everybody and so that togetherness has to continue.

“We heal together as a team now, and we’re there for them, and I know that 99 percent of the public will be as well.

“Bukayo in particular has been an absolute star in this tournament. [He has shown] incredible maturity and the way he has played has brought a smile to so many people’s faces.

“He’s become such a popular member of the group and I know he has got everybody’s support.”

Captain Harry Kane also said: “Three lads who were brilliant all summer had the courage to step up & take a pen when the stakes were high.

“They deserve support & backing not the vile racist abuse they’ve had since last night.

“If you abuse anyone on social media you’re not an @England fan and we don’t want you.”

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