‘No plans’ to mark Lionesses’ Euros victory with bank holiday, Number 10 says

Politics

There are “no plans” to mark England’s first major footballing trophy since the men’s side won the World Cup in 1966 with a bank holiday, Number 10 has said.

The prime minister’s official spokesman told reporters that people are being encouraged to “celebrate the Lionesses’ win” over Germany in the Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley on Sunday, but added that “there are no plans to change the current pattern of public bank holidays”.

Last week, ahead of the final, Sir Keir Starmer said the country should get an extra bank holiday if England’s women’s national football team won the tournament.

Sir Keir, who had attended England’s semi-final against Sweden at Bramall Lane in Sheffield with his wife Victoria, told the Mirror: “The whole country will be roaring on the Lionesses in the final on Sunday.

England Euro 2022 win: Lionesses lift trophy in front of delirious fans

“They have already done us proud, but if they win it will be a truly historic achievement – one that should be marked with a proper day of celebration, where clubs can open and promote access for women and girls.”

But the government said at the time that a bank holiday would be a “considerable” cost to the economy.

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Mr Johnson was also under pressure to give workers a bank holiday last summer had England’s men’s team won the Euro 2020 championship.

Speaking before the final against Italy, which ended in penalty heartbreak for England’s men, Mr Johnson said granting a bank holiday would be “tempting fate”.

The PM’s spokesperson also insisted Mr Johnson is supportive of women’s football amid questions over his absence from Wembley, given he attended the men’s final in their equivalent contest last year, and the lack of a Number 10 reception for the victorious Lionesses.

Mr Johnson’s German counterpart Olaf Scholz and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss both attended the final.

Over the weekend, Mr Johnson was celebrating his wedding to wife Carrie in the Cotswolds.

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England highlights in Trafalgar Square

Unlike other successful sporting teams, the Lionesses will not be honoured with a visit to Number 10 this week.

The England men’s cricket team were invited to Downing Street following their Ashes win in 2005, as were the men’s Rugby World Cup victors in 2003.

The women’s national rugby and cricket teams have also previously been honoured with receptions at Number 10.

The prime minister is at the funeral of Northern Ireland peace process architect Lord Trimble today and is then taking leave from Wednesday to Sunday.

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But Number 10 told reporters on Monday that Mr Johnson will “definitely” want the Lionesses to receive “the recognition they rightly deserve” despite this not being through a bank holiday.

Asked whether the prime minister’s absence from Wembley reflected badly on his attitude to the women’s game, his spokesman said: “I think the public will judge the government on the support it has given to women’s football.

“This is a government that has stood steadfastly in terms of supporting the women’s game and investing in it.

“The prime minister has been supporting the team throughout and was watching the game with his family at home.”

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England capt wants ‘change of best kind’

Labour has called for the Lionesses to be honoured for their historic Euros victory.

The party is urging the government to capitalise on England’s success to ensure young girls who are now inspired to get playing can go on to become stars.

Asked if the prime minister would back damehoods for the Lionesses following their win earlier on Monday, the PM’s spokesman said: “The prime minister would definitely want to see the team receive the recognition they rightly deserve for their historic victory.

“On honours specifically, there is obviously a process that is a matter for the independent honours committee, but clearly the public want to see (the) Lionesses receive recognition.”

England’s newly crowned Euro 2022 champions have celebrated before thousands of fans today after claiming the first major trophy in their history.

The Lionesses’ 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley last night was watched by a crowd of 87,192 at the national stadium – the biggest-ever attendance for any Euros game, men’s or women’s.

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