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Sir Keir Starmer backs calls for Nike to scrap new England football kit over redesigned St George cross

Sir Keir Starmer has backed criticism of Nike for changing the cross of St George on the collar of the new England shirt.

The Labour leader called on the sports manufacturer to switch the multicolour flag back to the original one.

His comments come after a social media storm over the change, with calls on X to boycott the US sports manufacturer.

The row started after Nike posted pictures online of the new England kit which will be used for this summer's Euro 24 tournament.

While some pictures showed off the 'away' kit's new colour purple, alongside the classic 'home' white jersey, one of the X posts showed a new motif featuring a purple, blue, black and red cross on the back of the shirt, which was captioned: "A playful update to the flag of St George appears on the collar to unite and inspire."

Previously, shirts have often featured the red and white of the St George's flag.

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Thousands of X users have reacted to the new kit, the vast majority negatively, with many attacking it for being unnecessary or "disrespectful". Some accused Nike of being "woke", and many urged people not to buy Nike products.

Sir Keir joined in the criticism when asked by The Sun if it was "wrong" to change the colours.

"Yeah, I think it was," he said.

"As you know, I'm a big football fan. I go to England games - men's 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."

He went on: "I'm not even sure they can properly explain why they thought they needed to change it in the first place.

"One more thing on that for me, they could also reduce the price of the shirts - I think it's £130."

A home team shirt for both men and women costs £124.99 on the Nike website.

A description of the new kit from Nike read: "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."

A number of other prominent voices, including football pundits and politicians, have also criticised the shirt's design and price.

One social media user responded to Nike's post to ask: "which other country's flag you have done this to?"

Another said it was "not yours to mess with", while a third said: "Looks crap I'll be wearing my old England shirt even if I get bean juice down it I'd rather wear that than this."

A person calling themselves "Alfred Ramsay" has set up a petition on the change.org website and, so far, several thousands of people have added their names. The anonymous petition creator says in accompanying text: "I would love to buy this new shirt, but cannot while it shows the Cross of St George defaced... Please change the shirt."

Nike, which also unveiled a slew of other international kits at the same time, is yet to comment on the storm. Sky News has contacted the company for comment.

England are also yet to comment, other than to publicise the availability of the kits, which went on sale today, on their social feeds.

Euro 2024, which kicks off in Germany in June, is now less than 100 days away, with England and Scotland having qualified and Wales facing Poland on Tuesday for one of the play-off places.