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Parliament debates whether to change England’s national anthem

MPs are debating whether to change England’s national anthem

MPs are debating whether to create a separate national anthem for England today which will replace ‘God Save the Queen’ at sporting events.

The idea, which has already been debated earlier on in the year, was proposed by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins who believes England should have their own anthem at sporting events, just as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already do.

He argues that Scotland has the Flower of Scotland played at its sporting events and the Welsh have Land of Our Fathers.

Back in January, the first reading of the English National Anthem Bill was passed by parliament and the second parliamentary debate is taking place today (Friday).

The British Government has made no official stance on the debate, however, in the past, Prime Minister David Cameron has supported calls for an English with the hymn Jerusalem being suggested.

As the debate takes place, Mr Perkins has arranged for a choir to gather on College Green outside the Houses of Parliament who will sing Jerusalem.

Speaking to The Sunday Express in January when the first debate occurred, the Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes, said: “We have been happily singing God Save The Queen forever – I don’t see the need to change it.

“The Queen has always said she’s only there for as long as people want her, but I should think they’d think it’s rather rude.”

If the bill is passed and England dies get its own national anthem, as it is a matter of great importance, the government would hold a public consultation on the choosing of a song.

All of the relevant sporting bodies would then be instructed to use the new anthem that people have chosen, prior to any international sporting contests, at medal awarding ceremonies and whenever else a national anthem was required for teams representing solely England.

The passing of the bill is a long way off yet though, as it has to go through various stages of the legislation process at which it can be turned down at any of these points. Also it is a cross-party bill, and does not have the support of any political party so it will be difficult to get through.

Photo: Paul Gravestock via Flickr CC

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