Will England’s or Scotland’s results at Euro 2024 affect the general election? | UK News

For only the second time, a general election campaign will coincide with a major football tournament.

Tens of thousands of voters could be in Germany around polling day on 4 July – depending on the progress of England and Scotland at Euro 2024 (14 June-14 July).

Can Rishi Sunak benefit from a football feelgood factor? Or could early exits for the home nations hasten his departure from No 10?

A myth has occasionally persisted that England’s 1966 World Cup victory kept Harold Wilson in Downing Street.

But Labour’s election victory actually came four months before the Wembley final – in March 1966.

England celebrate victory in 1966
England celebrate victory in 1966. Pic: Action Images/Reuters

The PM did, however, call the 1970 election in the middle of England’s World Cup defence in Mexico.

Cabinet minister Denis Healey later claimed Wilson was wondering about the political consequences of an England defeat ahead of election day.

And West Germany did turn it around against the world champions in the quarterfinals – just as the Conservatives confounded the pollsters to sweep Edward Heath to power four days later.

Edward Heath celebrates his 1970 election win Pic: AP
Edward Heath celebrates his 1970 election win Pic: AP

England’s early flight home came after blowing a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 – and sports minister Denis Howell later linked goalkeeping blunders with the moment everything “began to go wrong for Labour”.

A PM did not call a national poll again during a tournament until the Brexit vote – with the UK voting to leave the European Union during Euro 2016.

Read more: The gigs, sports events and festivals that clash with the 4 July general election

England fans – never reticent to goad rivals – adopted a new jingoistic chant: “We’re not in Europe anymore.”

The Three Lions fulfilled that far sooner on the pitch than the prolonged EU withdrawal – with a humiliating last-16 defeat to minnows Iceland.

At the upcoming Euros in Germany, the 4 July election unexpectedly called by Rishi Sunak comes after the round of 16.

Read more:
Royal Family postpones engagements that ‘divert attention’ from election campaign
Why summer election is a big call for the PM

Gareth Southgate arrives before the announcement.
Pic Reuters
Gareth Southgate. Pic: Reuters

Unwelcome news perhaps for Gareth Southgate, who for so long as England manager has been called on to unite the nation amid domestic political strife.

It was only in March that England were facing calls from both Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to restore the clear red St George’s cross to the shirt.

But Sky News pointed out to Southgate only yesterday that it seemed Euro 2024 “would be about football, not politics this time”.

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Kay Burley reveals Sky’s Election Night Live studio.

He replied: “Well, that’s what I started off in this job to do.”

A short-lived hope.

Even the Euros may not now be an election-free zone. But will results on the pitch have any impact on politics?