Keir Starmer gives verdict on bank holiday if England win Euros

Prime minister Sir Keir Starmer would not commit to an extra bank holiday if England win Euro 2024.

The Labour leader said the UK should “certainly mark the occasion” but said he did not want to “jinx anything” by pre-empting the result of Sunday’s final.

The Liberal Democrats led calls for an extra bank holiday after England claimed a last-minute 2-1 victory over the Netherlands on Wednesday. Gareth Southgate’s side will now play Spain in the finals.

Sir Keir previously supported calls for a bank holiday when England’s women’s football team made it to the World Cup final last year.

Asked whether he would back a bank holiday if Southgate’s team is victorious, the prime minister told broadcasters in Washington DC: “We should certainly mark the occasion, I don’t want to jinx it. I went to the last Euros final, I don’t want to go through that again.

“I don’t want to jinx anything but we must mark it in some way. But the most important thing is getting it over the line on Sunday.”

Sir Keir, an Arsenal supporter who regularly plays five-a-side football, said England’s win on Wednesday night was “fantastic”.

The Labour leader said the UK should “certainly mark the occasion” (PA Wire)
The Labour leader said the UK should “certainly mark the occasion” (PA Wire)

He is expected to attend the match in Berlin after watching Wednesday’s semi-final from the Nato summit in Washington DC.

Sir Keir was seen watching Harry Kane score England’s equaliser in the match in a room with his Dutch counterpart Dick Schoof.

The prime minister got out of his seat and celebrated as the spot-kick was drilled home, then shook hands with Mr Schoof.

“I managed to pop out from one of my sessions for just five minutes which is when I saw Harry Kane get the first goal,” he told broadcasters.

“I missed the second one but it was brilliant.

“So on we go now, great chance. I’ve always said this team were going to go all the way so I’m really, really pleased and just good luck for Sunday.”

Sir Keir said it looked like football was coming home when asked about the result during an Oval Office meeting with President Joe Biden.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The Three Lions are playing their first ever final on foreign soil, and if they bring it home, the Government should bring home a bank holiday to celebrate.

“England deserves the chance to celebrate a once-in-a-generation event. Who knows, we might even get decent weather.”

It is not the first time the Lib Dems have called for a temporary bank holiday in the event of a sporting win, having made similar calls last year when England Women reached the World Cup final.

Two extra one-off bank holidays were held across the UK in 2022, one for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and another for her funeral.

The King’s Coronation in May 2023 was also a bank holiday.