POLITICS

Backlash As SNP MP Joanna Cherry Condemns 'Appalling Behaviour' Of English Football Fans

Welsh and Northern Irish fans 'know how to behave themselves'

14/06/2016 15:58

An SNP MP has prompted criticism for suggesting football hooliganism is a problem limited to England among the home nations.

Joanna Cherry, an SNP frontbencher and MP for Edinburgh South West, called on Home Secretary Theresa May to "address the appalling behaviour of some of the English fans" at the European championships, contrasting them to the Welsh and the Northern Irish fans who "know how to behave themselves".

But the MP was upbraided by the Tory Cabinet minister for her "unfortunate" comments, while Labour MP Toby Perkins condemned the "complacent and stupid" remarks coming soon after violence marred the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park last month.

 Cherry said:

"In the 1970s, we had a serious problem with football hooliganism in Scotland. We managed to address it, and now the tartan army win awards for their good behaviour and their charitable work.

"Scotland may not have a world-class football team—yet—but we have world-class fans who know how to behave themselves, as it appears do the Welsh and the Northern Irish fans.

"My point is that the problem of recurring football hooliganism is not insoluble. What is most worrying, however, is the undertow of racism to this football hooliganism, and if it is allowed to continue unchecked, English fans will not be welcome abroad."

Parliament TV
Joanna Cherry: "In the 1970s, we had a serious problem with football hooliganism in Scotland. We managed to address it."

Her comments came as May told the Commons more British police are to be sent to France ahead of England’s clash with Wales, and warned football fans to “stay out of trouble”.

But she described Cherry's intervention as "somewhat unfortunate", adding:

"Yes, as I indicated yesterday at Home Office questions some England supporters were involved in the violence; and as I indicated just now in response to the urgent question, nine England supporters have been arrested and action is being taken against them by the French criminal justice system.

"Those people will be considered for banning orders when they return to the United Kingdom. Football hooliganism can erupt anywhere with any group of fans.

"We have experience here in the UK of dealing with football hooliganism in the past. Arrangements, including banning orders, are in place, and they do work well, but we are, of course, ever-vigilant and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that the law-abiding fans who wish to enjoy football are able to do so."

The fall-out continued on Twitter.

But Cherry stood by her comments.

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