Calls for new bank holiday to mark Lionesses historic Euro 2022 victory

ITV News Correspondent John Ray on England's history-making triumph

Labour has called for a new bank holiday to celebrate the triumph of England's historic Euro final win against Germany.

In a proposal for ministers to “put the ball in the back of the net” for women’s sport, the party also said the government should ensure all the Lionesses receive “the recognition they deserve” in the New Years’ Honours List.

No 10, however, has said there were “no plans” to add a new bank holiday to mark Sunday's victory, the first major tournament title for England since 1966.

Boris Johnson's official spokesperson said the PM wants the Lionesses to receive the recognition they deserve, after being asked if he would back damehoods for the team.

“On honours specifically, there is obviously a process that is a matter for the independent honours committee, but clearly the public want to see (the) Lionesses receive recognition,” the spokesperson said.

The Lionesses won in extra time in front of 87,000 supporters at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, setting a television viewing record.

But the significant pay gap remaining between men's and women's football means the victory is unlikely to see the England players become millionaires overnight.

Labour is now calling on Uefa to make prize money fairer in future Euro tournaments, as it said men’s teams currently receive 23 times more winnings than their counterparts in the women’s game.

Calls for fairer pay grew as thousands of fans celebrated the Euro win with the players in central London on Monday after royals and politicians hailed their inspiring performance.

"I think we've partied more than we actually played football in the past 24 hours," captain Leah Williamson told the crowd in Trafalgar Square.

Up to 7,000 England fans flooded into Trafalgar Square to toast their Euro 2022 champions at an event hosted by veteran player Alex Scott.

Scott introduced the players onto the stage as she started another rendition of ‘Football’s coming home’.

Lucy Bronze also got the crowd cheering as she said the aim was now to win the World Cup, while Jill Scott said her hopes were that women’s football would now be known as ‘football’ following the success.

Chloe Kelly, who scored the winning goal against Germany in Sunday night's final, told ITV News that her back is hurting from dancing too much amid "unbelievable scenes".

"No not too much. I am knackered now. My back is killing from dancing too much," she said when asked if she slept much last night.

"I want to watch it back - just to relive it all again. Unbelievable scenes and yeah I am just so buzzing."

Chloe Kelly says she is still 'buzzing' from England's spectacular win against Germany on Sunday

Ella Toone, who put England in front with an expertly-crafted chip in the 62nd minute, has spoken of having “left the shirt in a better place for little girls growing up”.

"We can’t forget everyone who came before us, but we’ve left the shirt in a better place for all the little girls growing up and we’re so proud," the 22-year-old said. “All we wanted to do was inspire the next generation and we have done and women’s football is getting bigger and bigger. “I think a lot of people have fallen in love with women’s football this summer and that’s what we set out to do.

ITV News Reporter Amy Lewis explores how the Lioness' win may impact on the next generation of young footballers

England Captain Leah Williamson praised her team's Euro performance and told of how the joy experienced from Sunday's game helped to rectify previous losses.

She said she could not stop crying after the win.

"We have always fallen short of that final hurdle. Even reaching the final was a great achievement for this set of players," she said.

"We have never done what we did last night and we have been at every major tournament basically, so there is a lot of hurt there, a lot of disappointment and finally rectified last night."

'We have never done what we did last night,' Williamson said

Former England player Lianne Sanderson, who was commentating during the match, said it has been a "whirlwind 24 hours" after the game as the nation celebrated the historic win.

She spoke of the players that have paved the way for the current England women's team, saying the squad deserve to enjoy their success.

"It was absolutely brilliant to just be there - see all the fans," Sanderson, who played between 2006 and 2015, told ITV News.

"People talk a lot about a legacy - people that have paved the way.

"Absolutely but I think ultimately, last night, Sarina Wiegman seemed to be that missing puzzle piece."

Lianne Sanderson talks Euro success, diversity and footballing legacy

Her comments came as England manager Sarina Wiegman admitted that her players indulged in “a little too much alcohol” after their victory.

The party went on long into the early hours and she seemed slightly surprised by how much alcohol was consumed. “Crazy, lots of music, lots of dancing,” was her description of the party in an interview published on the Lionesses’ Twitter account from outside the team hotel. “English people can drink…so a little bit too much alcohol but that’s OK. “When you have this accomplishment it is good to have a party.”

England's Ellen White with the trophy on stage.

Before the party officially started, the England squad gatecrashed Wiegman’s post-match press conference to serenade her with ‘Three Lions’, with goalkeeper Mary Earps dancing on the table.

Explaining her decision, England’s number one told Lionesses Live: “I saw my moment. I saw my opportunity. I took it. I felt like it was the perfect moment to get on a table.

“If you can’t get on a table after you’re the European champion, when can you?”

Supporters hailed England's victory as a “massive” moment, while the Football Association’s director of women’s football, Baroness Sue Campbell, said the Lioness’s win will make a “phenomenal difference”.

"It's just brilliant" - Chloe Kelly's mum, Jane, says she is "so proud" after her daughter scored England's winning goal, saying she "can't wait to kiss and cuddle her"

Chloe Kelly's mum, Jane, was visibly emotional as she spoke to ITV News about her daughter's triumph in the Euros final, saying she was "such a proud mum".

"This is what dreams are made of, especially for my girl", Jane said, after Chloe was out of the game for 11 months with an ASL injury.

"She's one of seven, she's the youngest of seven, she has five brothers, one sister and she always had a ball to her feet, always loved to kick a ball...from the age of 18 months when she could kick a ball, she kicked it, we used to go to the shops and she'd drive me mad with a ball at her feet and I use to say to her 'leave that ball at home', and we've gone on this great long journey and it's been an absolute dream," Jane said.

The celebrations continue as the England squad arrive at their hotel on Sunday night

The final attracted a peak TV audience of 17.4 million.

This is a record for a women’s football match in the UK, according to overnight ratings released by the BBC.

The previous record was set during England’s 2019 World Cup semi-final defeat by the United States, which enjoyed a peak audience of 11.7 million.

What was the secret to the Lionesses success? ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott explains

The Queen led tributes to the team after their victory on Sunday, saying their “success goes far beyond the trophy”.

She said in a statement: “My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Football Championships.

“It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff.

“The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise.

“However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned.

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

“It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

Players celebrate at Wembley Credit: Nigel French/PA

The Duke of Cambridge was among those supporting from the sidelines, and after the match he said it had been “wonderful to see history in the making”.

Those in the crowd at Wembley included the men’s captain Harry Kane and Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss.

Prime minister Boris Johnson, who watched the match from home with his children Wilfred and Romy, praised the team on their “stunning” victory. Mr Johnson said would “definitely” want the Lionesses to receive “the recognition they right deserve” after England’s historic Euros triumph but ruled out a new bank holiday to celebrate the win.

Thousands of people gathered in Trafalgar Square to celebrate the Lionesses’ win

Tory leadership contender Rishi Sunak tweeted a photograph of himself cheering on the team and said the Lionesses had “won the hearts” of the country.

Supporters who attended the match described the team’s win as a “victory for girls across the country”.

There was a carnival-like atmosphere as a huge sea of England flags were carried out of the stadium after the match, with supporters cheering, blowing horns and singing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline and Queen’s We Are The Champions.

Earlier, Baroness Campbell, said England’s win will make a “phenomenal difference” with its impact likely to be felt across other sports told BBC News: “I think it’ll really take it to another level. But I think what happened yesterday was much broader than football.

“I think it will change the perception of women in sport generally, and I hope give women and girls real optimism that if they want to do something in life, whatever it is, if they work at it, they’re going to achieve it.”

Fans in Trafalgar Square. Credit: PA

Baroness Campbell said she is not surprised at the TV viewing figures, adding: “I think we’ve inspired a nation here."

The 23-strong team and Wiegman will be invited to attend their Freedom ceremony later this year after being nominated by Lord Mayor of the City of London, Vincent Keaveny, and chair of the City of London Corporation’s civic affairs sub-committee, Edward Lord OBE.

One of the City of London’s ancient traditions, the Freedom is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade. Recent recipients include former England cricketer Sajid Mahmood and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.