Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have been accused of hypocrisy over their stance on racism in football, after they condemned the abuse of three black England players but previously refused to criticise fans who booed the team for taking the knee.
Both the prime minister and home secretary said they were appalled by social media abuse of Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, who missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday night.
But Sayeeda Warsi, a Conservative peer and former co-chairman, sent a public message to Patel, the home secretary, calling on her and all Conservatives to “think about our role in feeding this culture in our country”.
“If we ‘whistle’ & the ‘dog’ reacts we can’t be shocked if it barks & bites,” she tweeted. “It’s time to stop the culture wars that are feeding division. Dog whistles win votes but destroy nations.”
彼女は付け加えた: “As a proud centre-right politician, as a proud part of a diverse vibrant nation that produced a football team that spoke to and represented England in all its modern diverse glory it shames me that in 2021 some in politics are still playing fast & loose with issues of race.”
キールスターマー, the Labour leader, also criticised the prime minister who, 彼は言った, had “failed the test of leadership because whatever he says today about racism he had a simple choice at the beginning of this tournament in relation to the booing of those who were taking the knee.
“The prime minister failed to call that out and the actions and inactions of leaders have consequences, so I’m afraid the prime minister’s words today ring hollow.”
アンジェラ・レイナー, 労働党の副党首, was even more explicitly critical, saying Johnson and Patel “gave licence to the racists who booed the England players and are now racially abusing England players”. She said they were “like arsonists complaining about a fire they poured petrol on – total hypocrites”.
番号 10 defended the prime minister against accusations of hypocrisy, with his spokesman saying he “utterly rejects that claim”.
“The PM set out this morning his response to some of the awful comments we’ve seen … He was clear he wanted to see everyone getting behind the team to cheer them on and said racism in any form has no place in our society. He made it extremely clear before England played their first game that he wanted to see the whole nation getting behind the team and not booing.”
Johnson tweeted: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media. Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
プリティ・パテル, the home secretary, said she was “disgusted that England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.
“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable,」 she wrote on Twitter.
しかしながら, both have repeatedly stopped short of criticising fans who booed England players for taking the knee in a stand against racism. Patel has also said taking the knee represents “gesture politics” and whether to boo the England players was a “choice” for fans to make.
As the players were subjected to a barrage of online abuse, a Tory MP had to apologise for suggesting Rashford should have concentrated on football rather than “playing politics” in an apparent reference to his campaign for free school meals.
Natalie Elphicke, the Tory MP for Dover and Deal, made the comment in a WhatsApp message to fellow MPs, suggesting Rashford should not have spent time on his successful campaign for free school meals for low-income pupils in the school holidays.
In comments first reported by GB News, Elphicke said: “They lost – would it be ungenerous to suggest Rashford should have spent more time perfecting his game and less time playing politics.”
Labour seized on the message, with Rayner saying Elphicke had been 「「sneering at an inspirational player who stepped up to feed hungry kids when [Tory MPs] voted to leave them without food”.
“Whether it’s their failure to support the vulnerable, or booing our boys after they have done our whole country proud, the nasty party is back," 彼女は言いました. “The question every Conservative MP needs to answer is – did they call out these appalling comments?」
Elphicke released an apology shortly afterwards. 彼女は言いました: “I applaud the England team who gave their all in ユーロ 2020. Last night I shared the frustration and heartbreak of millions of other England fans.
“I regret messaging privately a rash reaction about Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty and apologise to him for any suggestion that he is not fully focused on his football.
“Onwards to the World Cup and I look forward to Marcus Rashford’s contribution at that time.”
Responding to Elphicke’s message, her fellow Tory MP Simon Hoare said: “Would it be ungenerous? はい. Unwarranted? はい. Wrong? Yes.”