Let staff leave early to watch England game, Labour urges firms

Labour is calling on England’s employers to allow staff to leave work early to watch the Euro 2020 clash with Germany.

Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner urged the prime minister to back their call for an early finish, so that the public don’t miss a minute of the 5pm fixture.

Gareth Southgate’s team face the German side at Wembley on Tuesday, as they bid to secure a place in the quarter-finals.

Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said: “Today is an absolutely massive day for our country. After being apart from our friends and family for so long, many of us will want to watch the game with our loved ones, whether at home or in the pub.

“So we urge the prime minister to back Labour’s call to let staff finish early so they can enjoy the game and get behind the England team.”

Rayner added: “Obviously this won’t be possible for lots of key workers and shift workers – the very same people who have kept our country going through this pandemic. So we think we all owe them another big thank you today.”

Starmer tweeted: “Good luck to England ahead of today’s game against Germany. Staff should be allowed to finish early so they can watch the match.”

Rayner has been shadow secretary of state for the future of work since May, when Starmer moved her aside from her role as party chair after the Hartlepool byelection loss.

Labour’s general secretary, David Evans, has told its staff they can knock off in time to get home to watch the game, the party said.

The schools minister, Nick Gibb, earlier told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was “a matter for industry and for business”, whether workers were able to watch the match.

He said he would be taking part in a debate in the Commons when the football started.

Asked if his own staff at the Department for Education could finish early, he said: “Civil servants have a very demanding job and I’m sure they’ll be able the juggle the demands of being a civil servant with being able to sneak a glimpse.”

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