Tory and Labour MPs back flying of flag for England's women footballers

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England v France - UEFA Women's Euro 2017 - Group D - Stadion De Adelaarshorst

MPs from across the political divide have backed calls to fly the English flag in support of the country's women footballers as a think tank said it should be raised over 10 Downing Street and town halls.

Tory Nusrat Ghani and Labour's Alison McGovern urged people to fly the St George's flag ahead of the Lionesses' Euro 2017 semi-final against tournament hosts Holland on Thursday evening.

The last time England's men reached the semi-final stage of a major tournament was Euro 96, when the team lost on penalties to eventual winners Germany.

It came as national identity think-tank British Future called for the England flag to be flown over Number 10, London's City Hall, and council buildings across the nation.

Ms Ghani, Conservative MP for Wealden, said: "England's Lionesses, our champions, are going to bring home the cup and we will wave our England flags in joy.

Shared moments of joy are rare. This is one occasion when we can all join in to celebrate our Lionesses win and our pride in the English spirit. Wave the flag and support our Lionesses!"

Ms McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South, said: "It is wonderful to see many fans salute England's Lionesses this year.

"It's thought that two million watched them play Scotland, and this will increase given their progress in the European Championship.

"After England's win against France, and with a tough upcoming match against the Netherlands, we can all celebrate their hard-fought victories and spur them on to win again by flying the England flag.

"Let's show the Lionesses our pride in them, because football is a sport for both women and men, and no one can seriously argue against that now."

Steve Ballinger of British Future said supermarkets and newspapers should be helping people show their support as they did for last year's men's Euro 2016 tournament.

He said: "Some people worry about Englishness being divisive, but support for the Lionesses is a great example of a positive, inclusive English pride that we can all share - and if we make it to the final that could really bring people together this Sunday.

"The England Lionesses' achievement so far at Euro 2017 is really something to be proud of - so we want to get everyone in England behind them today.

"We'd like to see the England flag flying over Downing Street, at London's City Hall and on town halls across the nation.

"Supermarkets should get England flags on to the shelves this week so people can show their support - like they did for Euro 2016.

"And why couldn't newspapers print special England flag posters too, like they did last year?"