Tory MP says Tyrone Mings is ‘completely right’ to accuse Priti Patel of ‘stoking the fire’ of racism

Tory MP says Tyrone Mings is ‘completely right’ to accuse Priti Patel of ‘stoking the fire’ of racism
Ex-minister Johnny Mercer criticises ‘the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into’, asking: ‘Do I fight it or stay silent?’

A Conservative MP has backed England footballer Tyrone Mings after he accused Priti Patel of “stoking the fire” of racism, saying he is “completely right”.

Johnny Mercer broke ranks with his party to reveal his deep unease about the home secretary supporting fans who booed the team for taking the knee at the start of games.

In a fierce attack on Ms Patel, Mr Mings has poured scorn on her condemnation of the racist abuse suffered by some players after the Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy on Sunday.

“You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens,” the centre-back tweeted.

Ms Patel has declined to comment, while the Treasury minister Stephen Barclay insisted she had “repeatedly taken a stand against racism”.

But Mr Mercer, a former defence minister who quit describing the government as “a cesspit”, tweeted of Mr Mings: “The painful truth is that this guy is completely right.

“Very uncomfortable with the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into. Do I fight it or stay silent? Modern Conservatism was always so much more to me. We must not lose our way.”

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