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News, gossip and insight from PoliticsHome Editor Paul Waugh

For Wazza, England and St George

The pre-England match excitement is mounting at Westminster.

Sadly, Dave will be stuck in a development meeting at the G20 in Mexico and won't be watching live, relying instead on intel fed by aides. Downing Street today made plain that he would be unable to repeat his arm-pumping performance seen at the G8 during the Chelsea victory.

Labour's Jamie Reed has already pointed out that the last time England were watched by the PM, we got thumped 4-1, so perhaps there are benefits to a Prime Ministerial absence in front of the box.

One minister in the Government, Jeremy Browne slipped up on the patriotism front today. Jezza was asked at the Foreign Affairs Select whether ministers would continue to boycott the Euro finals in Ukraine even if Eng-er-land made the final stages. He replied that that was 'hypothetical' question. Cue outrage.

One Labour source jokes to me: "Just because he's the Foreign Office minister doesn't mean he has to support the foreigners...."

But I hear Jeremy can make up for it by turning up to the Big Match event in the Commons tonight.

Yes, a group of English patriots have booked The Thatcher Room - herself not averse to a bit of flag-waving - to watch England v Ukraine on a big screen. There will be a truly cross party presence as for 90 minutes, party political loyalties are put aside and backbenchers and ministers cheer on Our Boys.

One MP who may be relieved at a big screen presence in the Commons is David Miliband. He has been invited by the Speaker to deliver a Big Speech on political reform at a time of economic crisis. Fortunately for the Arsenal-loving Miliband, his 7pm speech will be over just before the kick-off, I'm reliably informed. (David could, of course, join his brother for a beer: Ed is watching the match in his office tonight).

But the biggest committee room in the House is The Thatcher Room. With very few TV screens in the Commons bars, it could be standing room only.

 

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