Labour’s shadow sports minister has said England fans did not fly the St George’s flag at the World Cup as it is considered “far right” and not “welcoming” to minorities, blaming Brexit.
Rosena Allin-Khan, who replaced Sadiq Khan as the representative for Tooting, in south London, implied she was the woman to save the English flag by launching a campaign to “reclaim” it as well as change football.
“We hesitate to fly the England flag because it’s been hijacked by the far-right. Let’s reclaim it!” she wrote on Twitter during the tournament.
Speaking to Parliament’s The House magazine this week, she elaborated: “I do feel this time, particularly given how well we did, there was a significant lack of St George’s crosses.
“I think that many people feel that flying a St George’s cross is synonymous with far-right ideology and that sometimes prevents them from doing so because they don’t want to be perceived as such.”
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— Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (@DrRosena) July 19, 2018
She added: “During previous World Cups between 2000-2010 you could walk 20 metres and see flags in windows, flags on cars, flags on shops. Despite more sprouting up as the tournament went on, there’s been a noticeable difference.
“I think there is a reluctance to do so because shops may not want to feel they’re not being welcoming to members of the community, and perhaps Brexit has a part to play in that.”
Elsewhere in the interview, she explained her aim of injecting identity politics into football and putting the focus on equality: “This is about moving football spectating forward into a new era, making it accessible for all, whether you want to go with young children, whether you’re a wheelchair user, whether you have sight impairment, audio impairment, whether you are old and can’t jump up and stand.
“It’s about making it accessible and safe for everybody.”
UK Police Order England Football Fans to Ditch ‘Imperialistic’ Flag at Football World Cup https://t.co/pm3wxfVwAy
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 16, 2018
Senior Labour figures are well known for ridiculing the England flag and people who fly it for patriotic reasons.
In 2014, Emily Thornberry, now the Shadow First Secretary of State, was forced to resign from Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet after using Twitter to mock a house in Rochester, south-east England, flying St George’s flag.