Chesterfield MP calls for England to have own national anthem

MPs sing Jerusalem, as they launch the English National Anthem E-petition, outside the Houses of Parliament in London
MPs sing Jerusalem, as they launch the English National Anthem E-petition, outside the Houses of Parliament in London
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MPs belted out Jerusalem as they called for England to get its own national anthem.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins has tabled a Bill in Parliament arguing God Save The Queen should be the British anthem.

He was joined by South Yorkshire MPs Caroline Flint and Clive Betts.

Around a dozen politicians gathered outside the Commons to launch an e-petition urging the Government to look at the issue.

Labour backbencher Mr Perkins points out that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own tunes for sporting occasions.

The MPs - holding a banner featuring the St George Cross and the message “Let England’s voice be heard” - initially resisted entreaties from journalists to sing.

But the group, including home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz, Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, followed suit when Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw struck up Jerusalem.

Mr Perkins said opinion polls had showed ‘widespread support’ for the idea of an English anthem. Along with Jerusalem, Land Of Hope And Glory, I Vow To Thee My Country, and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot have been mooted.

The petition on the parliamentary website says a separate anthem would help “establish our English identity”.

“Wales has Land Of Our Fathers, Scotland has Flower Of Scotland - we want an anthem for England at sporting events,” the petition adds.

Mr Perkins said: “The level of interest and support for this has been overwhelming, and I am delighted that there is now a chance for people to show their backing for the Bill by signing our e-petition.

“We will be aiming to show the level of support that there is across the country for this, so that the Government embark upon a proper consultation to select an English national anthem for use in sporting events when England are represented.”