Borough MP pays tribute to footballers who chose to 'Take The Knee' and says she recognises validity of players' point - even though it's not a gesture she would make herself

  Posted: 21.07.21 at 06:11 by The Editor

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BOROUGH MP Jackie Doyle-Price has spoken up on the need for a united fight against racism following criticism reported in a national newspaper over her views on the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign.

The Daily Mirror picked up on a recent visit by the Thurrock MP to the Harris Academy and claims there was ‘uproar’ after she shared her views with students as part of an address to students in which she discussed the recent European Football championships and England player ‘Taking The Knee’.

However, Ms Doyle-Price says she has great respect for the players who expressed their solidarity and views by making the gesture – but says the greater debate over racism – which she acknowledges exists within parts of the footballing support base – has been hijacked.

Speaking to Thurrock Nub News, she says: “The nation was united in pride and admiration for an England team which had battled through to the final. The agony of a penalty shoot out brought the journey to an end but we all enjoyed it for as long as it lasted.

“And yet the unity we enjoyed has given way to a fractious debate about race, identity and taking the knee.

“My position is very clear. I pay tribute to the England team for taking the knee. I think it showed leadership. Being frank, casual racism is common in some parts of the football fraternity and it was a mark of leadership to make that gesture of solidarity.

“That said I would not take the knee myself. I don’t want to associate myself with the politics of some of the organisations that badge themselves as ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM).

“Campaigns to erase our history by tearing down statues are not ones I support any more than I support defunding the police. But I do recognise that for many people taking the knee is synonymous with a support in principle for racial equality so to those that want to then good luck to them.

“But equally those of us who don’t want to make that gesture should also be respected. It is a quite reasonable position. I can choose not to take the knee and still be against all forms of racism, just as choosing not to fly a Union flag in your back garden does not make you any less of a patriot than anyone else.

“This debate has now become uncomfortably divisive and unneccesarily so.

“We will only win the fight against prejudice and discrimination if we unite.

“As a Member of Parliament I am interested in making sure that we deliver policies which make a material difference to people’s lived experience. We should be judged by those actions more than any gesture.”

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