Saturday 20 January 2018

Give England its own national anthem for sports events - MP

England captain Wayne Rooney (left) sings the national anthem with his team-mates before an international friendly match. Photo: PA
England captain Wayne Rooney (left) sings the national anthem with his team-mates before an international friendly match. Photo: PA

Jack Maidment

The time has come for England to choose its own national anthem to be played at sporting events, a Labour MP has said.

Toby Perkins made the case for England 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 for Chesterfield's Ten Minute Rule Motion proposing this has been backed in the UK's 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.

He added: "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 suggested there could be an "'X Factor' style programme" to look at the available options.

Irish Independent

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