A senior Government minister sought to defend Priti Patel after England footballer Tyrone Mings suggested the Home Secretary had stoked the fire around racism.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Barclay told Sky News: "The Home Secretary has repeatedly taken a stand against racism.

"The Home Secretary herself has been the subject of appalling online racist abuse.

"She has consistently condemned racist abuse online and she has taken action as Home Secretary against some of the extreme Right-wing groups that are responsible for this."

Aston Villa defender Mings hit out at the Home Secretary in her condemnation of the racist abuse faced by his teammates, after she previously said players taking the knee was "gesture politics".

Politicians and public figures have slammed the racist hate faced by England players, in particular Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, on social media following their Euro 2020 final defeat.

The Home Secretary was among those to criticise the "vile" racist abuse that the players have been subjected to, writing on Twitter: "It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable."

However, in a response posted on Twitter, England defender Mings claimed Ms Patel had "stoke(d) the fire" after she previously refused to criticise fans who booed the team for taking the knee in protest against racial injustice.

He said: "You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens."

A member of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board has said England footballer Tyrone Mings is right to be angry with Home Secretary Priti Patel for failing to condemn booing of players taking the knee.

Former footballer Marvin Sordell, who said racism was a "big factor" in his retirement from the sport, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: "He has every right to be angry, just as I am, just as I’m sure millions of people are across this country as well.

"Because there was a massive opportunity to show strong leadership at that point. And I think it was very clear at that point, it was very clear before that, that players taking the knee wasn’t anything more than them trying to raise awareness for a topic that has again come up.

"There was an opportunity then to really back the players in what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to achieve, the positive message that they’re trying to talk about, and yet that was dismissed and people were allowed the opportunity to react negatively to something that was purely positive."

Ms Patel is also facing calls to apologise by the shadow cabinet. 

'We have to create a culture where this sort of behaviour is not acceptable.'

Shadow Foreign Secretary calls for Home Secretary Priti Patel to apologise for saying that football fans have a right to boo the England team for taking the [email protected] | @richardm56 | #GMB pic.twitter.com/ievTd7xpF7

— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 13, 2021

Meanwhile Withington Walls founder Ed Wellard said that the people who defaced a mural of Marcus Rashford should be educated not punished.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Tuesday he said that the artist who created the mural in Withington, Manchester, was coming back to work on it this morning.

When asked what punishment the vandals should be given he said: "Racism is learned behaviour, I think it should be more about education than punishment.

"I don’t think you’re going to change people’s minds with punishment.

"There needs to be active discussion about racism in this country, within sport, within society, on social media, and I think it’s heartening this sorry incident is allowing us to have those discussions because that’s the way we will move forwards as a country."