A FORMER Tory minister in Boris Johnson's government has said that England player Tyrone Mings was “completely right” to say that Priti Patel had “stoked the fire” of racism.

The extraordinary intervention from the football star came after Patel, the Home Secretary, tweeted to condemn the racist abuse suffered by black members of the England squad after their team lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Patel wrote: “I am disgusted that @England players who have given so much for our country this summer have been subject to vile racist abuse on social media.

“It has no place in our country and I back the police to hold those responsible accountable.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson and Priti Patel derided for anti-racism tweet about England stars

However, Patel said not one month previously that actions such as taking a knee were “gesture politics”. She said: “I just don't support people participating in that type of gesture.”

She also appeared to suggest that the impact of Black Lives Matter protests on the police had been “devastating”, and said booing those taking a knee against racism was “a choice” which she refused to condemn.

Mings, who plays as a centre-back for Premier League club Aston Villa and the England national team, was one of the many public figures to highlight the hypocrisy in Patel’s ultimate condemnation of the racists.

In a tweet which has already been “liked” more than 400,000 times, Mings wrote: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ and then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

Mings’s intervention has made headlines across the UK, with one former Tory minister saying he was “completely right”.

Johnny Mercer, who was fired as a defence minister before he could quit after accusing Boris Johnson of breaking a promise to veterans, wrote on Twitter: “The painful truth is that this guy is completely right.

“Very uncomfortable with the position we Conservatives are needlessly forcing ourselves into.

“Do I fight it or stay silent? Modern Conservatism was always so much more to me. We must not lose our way.”

He added that he was "very uncomfortable with some of my colleagues and their unnecessary interventions" in what he termed a "culture war".

A further endorsement of Mings’s message came from Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner, who wrote: “This. Leaders on and off the pitch.”

A member of the FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board also Mings was right to be angry with Patel for failing to condemn booing of players taking the knee.

Former footballer Marvin Sordell, who said racism was a “big factor” in his retirement from the sport, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He has every right to be angry, just as I am, just as I’m sure millions of people are across this country as well.

READ MORE: Gary Neville attacks Boris Johnson after England stars racially abused

“Because there was a massive opportunity to show strong leadership at that point.

“There was an opportunity then to really back the players in what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to achieve, the positive message that they’re trying to talk about, and yet that was dismissed and people were allowed the opportunity to react negatively to something that was purely positive.”

However, some on the right tried to silence the young footballer, saying it is not his role to play politics.

Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, wrote: “England players should focus on qualifying for and winning the World Cup in 2022, instead of engaging in political attacks on democratically elected representatives of the British people, including the Home Secretary, who has dedicated her life to serving her nation.”

However the massive outpouring of support for Mings for using his democratic right to express his views and fight back against racism far outweighs the voices trying to silence him.

He is not the only England player to have hit out at the racists whose vile abuse came into the public eye after the Euro 2020 final.

Marcus Rashford, whose mural was defaced with racist graffiti on Sunday night, also hit out saying he would never apologise for who he is or where he comes from.

Former England player Gary Neville also panned the Tory government, saying the racism suffered by the England team “starts at the very top”.