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England have been hailed as heroes who should be “so proud” of themselves for their efforts in reaching their first major final in more than half a century.

In a nail-biting final of the Euros, the Three Lions faced an agonising defeat in a penalty shootout at Wembley.

Prince William, who was at the match with the Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George, urged the players to “hold your heads high”.

In a tweet from the KensingtonRoyal account, signed W, the Duke of Cambridge congratulated the Italian football team on their win.

He wrote: “Heartbreaking. Congratulations @Azzurri on a great victory. @England, you’ve all come so far, but sadly this time it wasn’t our day. You can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves – I know there’s more to come.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was also at the match with his wife Carrie, tweeted: “That was a heartbreaking result to end #Euro2020 but Gareth Southgate and his @England squad played like heroes.

“They have done the nation proud and deserve great credit.”

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sent his commiserations to a team that demonstrates “the very best of our country”.

He tweeted: “Heartbreaking. On and off the pitch, this team is the very best of our country. They’ve done us proud.”

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey wrote: “Amazing team, amazing tournament, very proud”.

Liam Gallagher and Stephen Fry were among the stars sending commiserations to the England team.

Oasis singer Gallagher sent a message of support to 19-year-old Bukayo Saka, who took the final penalty, which was saved by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

He tweeted simply: “Love saka.”

He added: “It’s all good Bruv I love you kid we go and smash the World Cup. It is what it it is.”

Fry wrote : “Alright, football gods, I’ll wait another 55 years then. But I warn you, unless biotech comes up with something impressive, I’ll fairly certainly be dead…

“Bah, grr, poo and bother.”

Singer Rebecca Ferguson tweeted: “Well done England and congratulations Italy It was a close game and the players played well!

“Sending love to our England team, you did us all proud Don’t feel down everybody is proud of you.”

Singer Adele watched the final from the US and shared a picture showing her in her England shirt after the game.

“You did us so proud!” Adele wrote. “You brought our game home and brought us all together.”

Dua Lipa said she was watching the game during a video shoot and shared a picture of her impromptu set up.

After Italy had been declared champions, the pop star posted a picture of Saka and wrote: “All the boys made us so proud!!!!! Well done on such a great game!

“We love you England we’ll bring it home soon enough.”

Actor Idris Elba shared a picture of Saka while model Jourdan Dunn posted snaps of all the players who failed to score a penalty, as well as Raheem Sterling, and wrote: “KINGS.”

Tom Felton, who played Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, shared a selfie of him looking blue in his England shirt and wrote: “YeUgGHhh.”

He also congratulated Italy.

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Laura Saunders: Second Conservative candidate facing betting probe is married to party’s head of campaigns

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Laura Saunders: Second Conservative candidate facing betting probe is married to party's head of campaigns

A second Conservative candidate facing an investigation over allegedly betting on the timing of the general election is married to the party’s director of campaigns.

Laura Saunders, the Tory candidate for Bristol North West, is being looked into by the Gambling Commission.

She has worked for the party since 2015 and is married to the Conservative Party’s director of campaigns, Tony Lee.

Mr Lee “took a leave of absence” from his role on Wednesday night, a Conservative Party spokesman told Sky News.

It is not known how much money Ms Saunders placed or when the bet was placed.

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Rishi Sunak’s close parliamentary aide Craig Williams, the Tory candidate in Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr, placed a bet on a July election date three days before the prime minister announced it.

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And the prime minister’s close protection officer has been arrested and suspended over alleged bets about the timing of the election.

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, who is stepping down after 20 years as an MP, told Sky News’ Breakfast with Kay Burley: “It’s deeply disappointing and upsetting.

“But I have to say it’s the exception rather than the rule.”

He later said the whole episode is “deeply regrettable”, and added: “I can tell you how the world will think it looks, which is not great.”

Craig Williams admitted to betting on the election date. Pic: PA
Image:
Craig Williams admitted to betting on the election date. Pic: PA

A Conservative spokesman told Sky News: “We have been contacted by the Gambling Commission about a small number of individuals.

“As the Gambling Commission is an independent body, it wouldn’t be proper to comment further, until any process is concluded.”

A Gambling Commission spokesman told Sky News: “The Gambling Commission regulates gambling in the interests of consumers and the wider public.

“Currently, the commission is investigating the possibility of offences concerning the date of the election. This is an ongoing investigation, and the commission cannot provide any further details at this time.

“We are not confirming or denying the identity of any individuals involved in this investigation.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for Ms Saunders to be suspended and said it is “very telling” Mr Sunak has not already done so.

“If it was one of my candidates, they’d be gone and their feet would not have touched the floor,” he added.

The officer who has been arrested is a member of the Met’s Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP) Command, which provides personal close protection to ministerial VIPs and members of the Royal Family.

Sky News understands several bets were placed by the officer, with at least one of them being a three-figure sum.

The Met Police said the matter was immediately referred on 14 June to officers in the force’s directorate of professional standards, who opened an investigation. The officer was also removed from operational duties.

In a statement, the Met said: “The officer was subsequently arrested on Monday 17 June on suspicion of misconduct in public office. He was taken into custody and bailed pending further enquiries.”

Mr Sunak said he was “disappointed” about Mr Williams after it emerged last week that he had bet on a July election.

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Mr Williams, who was the PM’s parliamentary private secretary (PPS), is facing an investigation after he “put a flutter on the general election” three days before the 4 July date was announced.

The odds at the time were 5/1 and he placed £100 on, which would have led to a £500 payout.

In a statement, he said his “flutter” on the election had prompted some “routine inquiries” and that he would “fully co-operate with these”.

“I don’t want it to be a distraction from the campaign. I should have thought through how it looks,” he added.

Sky News has contacted Ms Saunders for a comment but she has not replied.

The other candidates for Bristol North West are:

Caroline Gooch, Lib Dems

Darren Jones, Labour

Scarlett O’Connor, Reform UK

Mary Page, Green Party

Ben Smith, SDP

The other candidates for Montgomeryshire and Glyndwr are:

Jeremy Brignell-Thorp, Green Party

Oliver Lewis, Reform Uk

Glyn Preston, Lib Dems

Elwyn Vaughan, Plaid Cymru

Steve Witherden, Labour

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Sir Ian McKellen will not appear when play resumes after his fall from stage

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Sir Ian McKellen will not appear when play resumes after his fall from stage

Sir Ian McKellen will not appear when the run of Player Kings resumes in the West End on Thursday night after his fall from the stage.

The veteran actor, 85, was performing at the Noel Coward Theatre when he lost his footing in a fight scene on Monday.

He was taken to hospital after the accident, with performances on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all cancelled to give him time to rest.

The final London performances are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

While he said on Tuesday he is “looking forward to returning to work“, he confirmed his understudy David Semark will go on instead.

“After three nights in hospital, the effects of my fall onstage have been fully analysed and I’m now having physiotherapy, light exercise and a lot of essential rest at home,” he said

“Meanwhile my part in Player Kings is filled by the redoubtable David Semark supported by Robert Icke’s amazing production and cast.

“The many messages of love and support will, I am sure, aid the speedy recovery that my doctors have promised me.”

Sir Ian McKellen in February. File pic: PA
Image:
Sir Ian McKellen in February. File pic: PA

The show’s X account also confirmed Semark will be playing the role of Sir John Falstaff for the final three performances.

Organisers added they look forward to Sir Ian returning to the production, which begins a national tour in Bristol on Wednesday 3 July, before stops in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

Sir Ian was said to be in a scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy when he fell from the front of the stage.

He was heard crying out in pain as staff rushed to help, with the theatre later thanking doctors Rachel and Lee, who were in the audience at the time.

An NHS response unit outside the theatre. Pic: Sky News
Image:
An NHS response unit outside the theatre. Pic: Sky News

Audience members were told the remainder of the evening performance had been cancelled and were evacuated.

Paul Critchley, from Downham Market in Norfolk, was there and said it was a “shock” to witness the fall.

“The house lights came up very quickly as the stage management and front of house team dealt with the incident,” he said.

“We were evacuated immediately so that Sir Ian could be treated in privacy.”

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After his fall, The Lord Of The Rings star and Olivier Award-winner Sir Ian thanked everyone on Tuesday who had left messages of support.

“Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service,” he added.

“To them, of course, I am hugely indebted.

“They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work.”

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

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Spurs player Rodrigo Bentancur apologises for racist joke about teammate Son Heung-min

Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min has said teammate Rodrigo Bentancur knows he “made a mistake” after making racist joke about him.

Bentancur was asked on Uruguayan TV for a Spurs player’s shirt, to which he replied: “Sonny’s? It could be Sonny’s cousin too, as they all look the same.”

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said it had received a “significant number” of complaints.

The Uruguayan midfielder apologised on social media, describing it as a “very bad joke”, with Son later saying the pair were “brothers” and “nothing has changed at all”.

Tottenham said in a statement: “We fully support that our captain Sonny feels that he can draw a line under the incident and that the team can focus on the new season ahead.

“We are extremely proud of our diverse, global fanbase and playing squads. Discrimination of any kind has no place at our club, within our game or within wider society.”

In the same post, the club quotes Son as saying: “I’ve spoken with Lolo (Bentancur). He made a mistake, he knows this and has apologised.

“Lolo would not mean to ever intentionally say something offensive. We are brothers and nothing has changed at all.

“We’re past this, we’re united, and we will be back together in pre-season to fight for our club as one.”

Bentancur had previously posted: “Sonny brother! I apologise to you for what happened, it was just a very bad joke.”

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Spurs’s Premier League season kicks off at newly promoted Leicester City on 19 August, followed by games against Everton, Newcastle and arch-enemy Arsenal.

Bentancur is currently preparing to represent Uruguay at this summer’s Copa America in the US, which starts on 20 June.

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