Sunak’s confusing message to England’s Lionesses sparks debate


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has congratulated the England women’s football team, also known as the Lionesses, for their performance in the World Cup final, where they lost 0-1 to Spain. Sunak, who watched the match from a pub in his Yorkshire constituency, tweeted after the match: “You left absolutely nothing out there @Lionesses. It wasn’t to be, but you’ve already secured your legacy as game changers. We are all incredibly proud of you.”

However, his choice of words has caused some confusion and criticism among fans and commentators, who pointed out that the phrase “left nothing out there” would normally imply that the players made no effort or contribution. Some suggested that he meant to say “left everything out there” or “left nothing in the locker room”, which are more common expressions of praise and encouragement in sports.

Sunak’s confusing message to England’s Lionesses sparks debate
Sunak’s confusing message to England’s Lionesses sparks debate

Sunak defends his tweet and cites Andy Murray as an example

Sunak defended his tweet and said he was using the phrase in the same way as tennis star Andy Murray, who has previously said: “Give it everything you’ve got, leave nothing out there.” He also said he was inspired by the Lionesses’ skill, teamwork and courage, and that they have made football more accessible and inclusive for girls and women in the country.

In a letter addressed to “Sarina and all our Lionesses”, Sunak said: “On behalf of the entire country, I want to wish you the best of luck against Spain in the World Cup final! Once again, this summer, you’ve made us all proud. From beating the Aussies in their own backyard to winning that penalty shoot-out, you have inspired us with your skill, teamwork and courage. This weekend, like millions of others, I will be watching and cheering you on. But whatever the result, I want you to know that you have already secured a lasting legacy: that every girl in this country will have equal access to all school sport, including football.”

He also praised the Lionesses for using their Women’s Euros win last year as a springboard to lobby for better access for women and girls to play sport, highlighting how the finalists had “faced down outdated attitudes” and that their international careers had been “earned against the odds”.

Other politicians and celebrities show their support for the Lionesses

Sunak was not the only politician to show his support for the Lionesses, who reached their first World Cup final in history. Labour leader Keir Starmer said it was “heartbreaking” but that he was “so proud of the England team who inspired the whole country” and that this was “just the beginning for the Lionesses”.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer and Foreign Secretary James Cleverly were sent to represent the UK Government at the final in Sydney, where Cleverly was part of the World Cup presentation lineup.

Other celebrities and public figures who congratulated the Lionesses included David Beckham, Emma Watson, Adele, Ed Sheeran, JK Rowling, Prince William and Kate Middleton.


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