Boris Johnson could declare August bank holiday if England win Euro 2020

·3 min read
Boris Johnson - Henry Nicholls/REUTERS
Boris Johnson - Henry Nicholls/REUTERS

Boris Johnson could declare a bank holiday in August if England win the Euro final on Sunday, with a four-day weekend at the end of the month being touted as the most likely option.

Despite growing calls for the Prime Minister to give millions of workers a day off on Monday after the match, senior government sources moved to dampen expectations by warning it would be practically impossible.

Mr Johnson has ruled out declaring a bank holiday before the match has finished, warning he does not want to "tempt fate". It means he would just have hours to spare after an England win to create a bank holiday.

The Telegraph has also been told that in order for that to happen, the Queen would be required to dial in to an eleventh hour meeting of the Privy Council from Windsor Castle in order to approve the plans. The prospect of that happening was remote, a senior government source said, adding that no plans for a bank holiday had been made.

While reports have suggested that July 19 could be the preferred option, it is also understood that ministers are against the move as it would fail to give businesses enough time to prepare.

Others questioned the wisdom of granting a bank holiday on the day that the work from home guidance is lifted and pointed out that many schools would not break up until the following Friday.

Some members of the England squad will also be on holiday, making it difficult to coincide it with a victory parade. The Football Association has privately said that England's performances would be more likely to be celebrated at a ticketed event at Wembley in September.

Instead, Cabinet ministers and government sources suggested that a date later in August would provide enough time for businesses, members of the public and the police to prepare for the celebrations.

It could also provide an opportune moment to hold a victory parade for the team, as social distancing requirements will have fallen away and pupils will be on their summer holidays.

Victory parade on Friday Aug 27 most likely option

Two sources indicated that Friday Aug 27 was the most likely option, as it would already coincide with the summer bank holiday on the following Monday.

One said that creating a four-day weekend would also create an economic boost as it would allow more people to go away on a mini-break before schools returned for the next academic year.

It came as a petition calling for a bank holiday on Monday passed 320,000 signatures, while employers and school heads across the country announced they were considering allowing staff and pupils to enjoy a lie-in after the late night clash.

However, senior government sources have told The Telegraph that in order for a bank holiday to be established on Monday, the Queen would have to give her approval within hours before the midnight cut-off point.

Bank holidays are usually created by royal proclamation, whereby the Queen is advised by ministers to use her powers to create one on a certain date.

Sources have told this newspaper that in order for this to happen, there are three scenarios in which the Queen would be able to grant approval in time.

The first would be for Her Majesty and three members of the Privy Council - the formal body of advisers to the monarch, which is mostly made of senior Cabinet ministers - to attend the match at Wembley.

Should England win, they would then have to convene late at night and advise the Queen at Wembley. However, the Queen has not attended a major sporting event since the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The second option would be for the three privy counsellors to meet in person and to hold a virtual meeting in which the Queen would dial in. The Privy Council has been meeting by secure video conference throughout the pandemic.

Alternatively, arrangements could be made to hastily send them to Windsor Castle to meet in person.