PMQs: MPs clash over political response to racist abuse

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At prime minister’s questions, Boris Johnson was asked about by Labour about the booing of England players when they took the knee during the Euros. Mr Johnson said:“We made it absolutely clear that no one should boo the England team” So what did he say? On 7 June, after England […]

At prime minister’s questions, Boris Johnson was asked about by Labour about the booing of England players when they took the knee during the Euros.

Mr Johnson said:We made it absolutely clear that no one should boo the England team”

So what did he say?

On 7 June, after England players were booed for taking the knee before playing Romania, the prime minister’s spokesperson said Mr Johnson respected the right to “peacefully protest” but added that he was “more focused on action rather than gestures”.

The tone changed on 11 June, when the spokesperson was asked whether Mr Johnson would condemn the booing, he said he wanted to see everybody “cheer them on, not boo”.

On 12 June, the prime minister told reporters: “I disapprove of people booing the England team…I see no reason to do that.”

The next day, the prime minister was asked for his reaction to news that the England team had just been booed for taking the knee once again. He did not condemn the booing but he said “everybody should cheer for England”.

Some of his cabinet colleagues took a different approach: Home Secretary Priti Patel told GB News on 14 June that she did not support people taking part in what she called “gesture politics”. When asked whether it was right for England fans to boo, she said “that’s a choice for them quite frankly”.

During PMQs today, Mr Johnson reminded MPs that the home secretary had “faced racism and prejudice all her career of a kind that he could never imagine”.

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