England kit: Rishi Sunak slams 'messing' with new multi-coloured St George’s Cross as FA told 'Change It Back'

Rishi Sunak slammed the new England football kit’s “messing” with a multi-coloured St George’s Cross as the FA faced calls to “Change It Back”.

The Prime Minister intervened in the row, stressing he "prefers the original".

He added: "When it comes to our national flags, we shouldn't mess with them because they're a source of pride, identity, who we are, and they're perfect as they are."

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer slammed the change to the kit as ‘pointless and unnecessary’.

The Culture Secretary joined many supporters and football legends in criticising the change.

“Fans should always come first, and it’s clear that this is not what fans want,” she tweeted.

“Our national heritage - including St George’s Cross - brings us together. Toying with it is pointless and unnecessary.”

Former Tory chairman Sir Jake Berry tweeted furiously: “Wokeness gone mad!! “@FA, change the England Flag back now!”

In a video clip, the Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen added: “FA, if you are watching...Change It Back.”

“If you are an England fan, you just want the England flag on the England kit.”

Despite the row over the multi-coloured St George’s Cross intensifying across the country,with former players also calling for a rethink, the FA stood by its shirt in a statement on Friday.

In a statement it said: “The new England 2024 Home kit has a number of design elements which were meant as a tribute to the 1966 World Cup winning team.

“The coloured trim on the cuffs is inspired by the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, and the same colours also feature on the design on the back of the collar.

“It is not the first time that different coloured St George’s cross-inspired designs have been used on England shirts.

“We are very proud of the red and white St George’s cross – the England flag. We understand what it means to our fans, and how it unites and inspires, and it will be displayed prominently at Wembley tomorrow – as it always is – when England play Brazil.”

Nike revealed it had replaced the traditional red cross on the back of the collar with purple and blue horizontal stripes in what it called a “playful update” to the shirt ahead of Euro 2024. England’s men’s team are set to wear the new kit for the first time tomorrow night in the friendly at Wembley against Brazil.

Some fans have also criticised the price of the shirt, which costs up to £125.

However, the BBC reported that there are no plans to change or recall it.

England’s most capped men’s player Peter Shilton said on Friday: “This is wrong on every level. I’m totally against it. Including the price that Nike are going to charge. If you’re going to put the St George’s Cross on a kit, which obviously Nike have done, then just put it on with the traditional colours. Like the Three Lions, it’s traditional.”

David Seaman, another former England goalkeeper, added: “It doesn’t need fixing. What’s next, are they going to change the Three Lions to three cats? Leave it alone. It’s the St George’s flag.”

The US firm said the colours were inspired by the training kit worn by England’s 1966 World Cup winners, but shadow attorney-general Emily Thornberry described the new design as “a bit weird”.

She told BBC Breakfast: “Imagine putting a bit of purple on the Irish tricolour. Why are we messing around with it? I don’t understand.”

She was speaking after her leader Sir Keir Starmer called on Nike to change the colour back to the traditional red. The Labour leader said he believed the flag was a “unifier” and insisted the sporting brand should “reconsider” the decision to modify it. He also called on Nike to reduce the price.

Conservative MP Ben Bradley said it was “a ridiculous decision”. He added: “Unbelievable that Nike and the FA think they have the right to change our country’s flag. Some things are untouchable.”

A Nike spokesman previously said: “The England 2024 home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic. The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple. The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St George on the back of the collar.”

It is not the first time Nike have found themselves in hot water over an England shirt. Lionesses goalkeeper Mary Earps said the firm’s decision not to sell her replica shirt ahead of the women’s World Cup was “hurtful”Nike relented after mounting pressure, with the green long-sleeved shirt then selling out in five minutes.