Boris Johnson has condemned “appalling” racist abuse of three England players whose penalties failed to hit home in the Euro 2020 final.
The Prime Minister said those abusing Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka overnight “should be ashamed of themselves” and the young trio were “heroes”.
A minister urged the Metropolitan Police to take “swift” action over the racist abuse.
It comes weeks after Boris Johnson and his spokesman failed to condemn England fans who were booing players for taking the knee in a stand against racism.
The PM’s spokesman said on June 7: “On taking the knee, specifically, the prime minister is more focused on action rather than gestures”.
Eventually, after widespread condemnation, the Prime Minister simply urged fans to “cheer, not boo” players at Euro 2020.
Mr Johnson tweeted this morning: “This England team deserve to be lauded as heroes, not racially abused on social media.
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“Those responsible for this appalling abuse should be ashamed of themselves.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “The entire England team have brought us together and given us memories that will last a life time. They represent the best of us.
“Anyone racially abusing them is a disgrace and doesn’t represent us at all. More can and must be done to stop online abuse.”
The FA released a statement saying they were “appalled” by the abuse suffered by Rashford, 23, Sancho, 21, and Saka, 19.
Health Minister Edward Argar said today: “They’re heroes. They’re a young side and I know they’ll be back even stronger than ever.”
Mr Argar told Sky News: “What really is disappointing is the appalling online racist abuse that we’ve seen members of that team suffer.
“There’s no place for that in sport, there’s no place for that in our country.
“And I think it’s absolutely right that the Met Police have said they’re investigating those posts and those possible offences that have been committed.
“And I very much hope they do so swiftly and as appropriate, take action against those who’ve put up these appalling social media messages.
“Those who’ve done this cannot claim to be true fans of the sport.”
The Three Lions suffered a 3-2 defeat in a penalty shootout after Luke Shaw’s early strike was cancelled out by Leonardo Bonucci in the second half.
The England trio who took the final three penalties received vile messages on social media following the defeat by Italy on Sunday night.
In the wake of the result, the Metropolitan Police confirmed they are investigating “totally unacceptable” social media activity targeting England players.
Arsenal took to Twitter to support their teenage star Saka, saying: “Football can be so cruel. But for your personality. For your character. For your bravery… We’ll always be proud of you.
“And we can’t wait to have you back with us, Bukayo Saka.”
Manchester United sent a similar message of solidarity to Rashford, writing: “One kick won’t define you as a player or person, Marcus. Remember that. We look forward to welcoming you home.”
Scotland Yard said: “We are aware of a number of offensive and racist social media comments being directed towards footballers following the #Euro2020 final. This abuse is totally unacceptable, it will not be tolerated and it will be investigated.”
“We could not be clearer that anyone behind such disgusting behaviour is not welcome in following the team,” reads the statement.
“We will do all we can to support the players affected while urging the toughest punishments possible for anyone responsible.
“We will continue to do everything we can to stamp discrimination out of the game, but we implore government to act quickly and bring in the appropriate legislation so this abuse has real life consequences.
“Social media companies need to step up and take accountability and action to ban abusers from their platforms, gather evidence that can lead to prosecution and support making their platforms free from this type of abhorrent abuse.”