Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith dismisses England footballers taking the knee as ‘nonsense’


A Tory MP has told England footballers kneeling against racism to cut out the “nonsense” after backing the decision by the FA that England captain Harry Kane should not wear a pro-LGBT+ rights OneLove armband.

The MP for Bassetlaw, Brendan Clarke-Smith was urged to “educate” himself by the boss of an anti-racism group after he hit out at kneeling England players on Monday.

FIFA suggested it would mean an instant yellow card for skipper Harry Kane if he wore a One Love armband with the MP suggesting taking the knee should also be ditched, branding it “virtue signalling”.

Mr Clarke-Smith tweeted: “Now cut out the kneeling nonsense and the rest of the selective virtue signalling and let football do the talking.” However, the team who went on to beat Iran 6-2 in their opening group game, having taken the knee before kick-off.

Ged Grebby, Chief Executive of Show Racism the Red Card claimed that Mr Clarke-Smith had shown his “ignorance on a number of levels”.

He told the Mirror: “Taking the knee is an anti-racist gesture. MPs should be applauding it, not having a go at it.

“They should be supporting the squad during the World Cup. His comments are the distraction here, not taking the knee.”

The anti-racism campaigner said it was a team decision to take a stand against racism, and called on MPs like Mr Clarke-Smith to “educate themselves”.

He added: “If there is racism at this World Cup, and there will be, you can guarantee that Southgate and the England team will not be ignoring it.”

The MP’s comments put him at odds with No10 over taking the knee with ministers ditching their opposition to the England team doing so at the start of matches.

Former home secretary Priti Patel had said that England fans had a right to boo England’s national team if they diasgreed with taking the knee adding: “That’s a choice for them quite frankly. I’ve not gone to a football match to even contemplate that.”

However Dowing Street dismssed her remarks as not reflecting the view of the government with Boris Johnso saying he only wanted fans to cheer on the team.