‘Even Tory MPs!’ Shapps squirms as Reid demands Conservatives change attitude to racism

GMB: Reid grills Shapps over Tory stance on taking the knee

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Following the vile racist abuse that England’s footballers have suffered since their Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy on Sunday, a debate has been sparked regarding whether the UK Government’s lack of action and support for the players’ taking the knee protest contributed to the mountain of abuse. England centre-back Tyrone Mings highlighted Priti Patel’s comments labelling the protest as “gesture politics” as “stoking the fire” of racism after the Home Secretary took to Twitter to condemn the abuse. 

During an interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Susanna Reid grilled Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on whether the Conservative Party’s attitude to taking the knee and racism needs to change.

Ms Reid said: “You might not agree with taking the knee but not to criticise those who undermine it by booing those players who experience that racism at the very moment they know they on the national and international stage and they are going to receive abuse of the type you then criticise after the game.

“That was a mistake wasn’t it?”

Mr Shapps replied: “I think we can support anyway in which people want to express the desire to boot out racism.

“I have no issue with that at all.”

The GMB presenter said: “Even Steve Baker a member of your own party and Jonny Mercer have both said that it is time for the Conservatives’ attitude to racism, towards taking the knee to change.

“I can’t believe we are even saying this but is it time to stop criticising footballers for taking the knee?

“Is it time to say to those fans who booed taking the knee, don’t do that, this is an important protest?”

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The Transport Secretary responded: “I think we should support our footballers, we should support anyone whatever their form of anti-racism takes.

“I did not hear any booing at the Stadium on Sunday night.”

More to follow…

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