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Rishi Sunak warns Nike against altering the St George’s Cross on the England shirt.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that Nike “should not mess” with the St George’s Cross, as he waded into a row over the brand’s decision to change the flag’s colour on its new England shirt.

It comes after Nike revealed it had altered the cross using purple and blue horizontal stripes in what it called a “playful update” to the shirt ahead of Euro 2024.

The US firm said the colours were inspired by the training kit worn by England’s 1966 World Cup winners.

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Mr Sunak’s comments echo those of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said the flag was a “unifier”.

Speaking to reporters in Heanor, Derbyshire, the Prime Minister said: “Obviously I prefer the original, and my general view is that when it comes to our national flags, we shouldn’t mess with them.

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“Because they are a source of pride, identity, who we are, and they’re perfect as they are.”

Sir Keir went even further than the Prime Minister, calling for the sporting brand to “reconsider” the decision to modify it.

He told The Sun: “I’m a big football fan, I go to England games, men and women’s games, and the flag is used by everybody. It is a unifier. It doesn’t need to be changed. We just need to be proud of it.

“So, I think they should just reconsider this and change it back. I’m not even sure they can properly explain why they thought they needed to change it in the first place.”

A petition on Change.org calling for a design change had already attracted more than 21,000 signatures by noon on Friday.

Sir Keir went even further than the Prime Minister, calling for the sporting brand to “reconsider” the decision to modify it (Ian West/PA)

Some football pundits and fans have criticised the design and price of the shirt since it was launched earlier this week.

An “authentic” version costs £124.99 for adults and £119.99 for children while a “stadium” version is £84.99 and £64.99 for children.

Sir Keir also called on Nike to reduce the price.

A Nike spokesperson previously told media outlets: “The England 2024 home kit disrupts history with a modern take on a classic.

“The trim on the cuffs takes its cues from the training gear worn by England’s 1966 heroes, with a gradient of blues and reds topped with purple.

“The same colours also feature an interpretation of the flag of St George on the back of the collar.”

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