Chesterfield MP calls for English national anthem

Victory for Labours Toby Perkins
Victory for Labours Toby Perkins
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Chesterfield MP has called for England to choose its own national anthem to be played at sporting events.

Toby Perkins made the case for the nation to drop God Save The Queen in favour of its own song to put the country on an even footing with Wales and Scotland.

The MP wants the Government to ask members of the public which song should be chosen and his Ten Minute Rule Motion proposing that has been backed in the House of Commons and will now be looked at further.

Mr Perkins said the ‘early favourite’ is the popular hymn Jerusalem, which was playing loudly outside Parliament as the debate started.

The MP stressed he is not a ‘republican, nor an atheist, nor an English nationalist’ and that he has no hostility ‘toward God, Her Majesty the Queen, to God Save The Queen or to the United Kingdom’.

“Indeed it is precisely out of respect for preserving many of these things that I believe the time has come to consider the question of an English national anthem,” he said.

Mr Perkins outlined his belief that the level of interest in his proposals shows it is time for Parliament ‘to catch up with public opinion and allow the voice of England to be heard’.

He said: “It has often seemed incongruous to me that when England has played against other home nations on the football or rugby field that, while the Welsh or Scots sing an anthem that reflects their nation’s identity, England should sing about Britain.

“It reflects a sense that we see Britain and England as synonymous.

“This not only denies us English an opportunity to celebrate the nation that is being represented but is also a cause for resentment amongst other countries within the British Isles who feel that England have requisitioned a British song.”

Mr Perkins’ English National Anthem Bill was adopted by the House unopposed and will now progress to its second reading.

Without the support of the Government it is unlikely to ever become law.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokeswoman said the Government had not yet been approached with any request to make time available for the Bill.

“He is happy for there be a debate. What matters the most, with an anthem, is that you sing it with pride,” she said.

“The most important thing, he thinks, is that people get behind their anthems.”