MPs to vote on national anthem for England – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jerusalem was chosen as the anthem to be played for English athletes competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and was used again in 2014 in Glasgow

MPs are expected to vote later on the idea of England adopting an official national anthem.

God Save the Queen, the national anthem for the UK as a whole, is currently used for England during most sporting events.

However, Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins believes England needs its own anthem and the idea has the support of several campaigners.

If the vote is passed his bill will be debated again at a second reading.

Media captionJerusalem, based on the William Blake poem “And did those feet in ancient time”, has come out as favourite in previous polls

Mr Perkins wants a public consultation to decide on the best song, and said people could opt for something traditional or new.

“England is a component part of the UK but it competes as a country in its own right and I think a song that celebrated England rather than Britain would be more appropriate,” he said.

Campaign group England In My Heart wants Jerusalem to be adopted.

“It’s about time England was able to celebrate being English at sporting events,” said group member Eddie Bone.

“Let the Scots and the Welsh celebrate theirs and then we come together at the end and sing God Save the Queen.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption England sporting teams, such as the women’s hockey team who became European champions in August, have traditionally lined up to sing the UK anthem

Another campaign group, Anthem 4 England, said Jerusalem has come out as favourite in previous polls.

Member Gareth Young said it was his personal favourite too.

“It’s a beautiful song and it actually mentions and is about England, unlike its competitors,” he said.

He said people wrongly think it’s a hymn and also “object to the fact that it references a Middle Eastern city” but said these objections were “largely based on ignorance” as Jerusalem was a metaphor for a better place.

He said using the UK anthem as the English anthem was an “unnecessary strain on relations between England and Scotland” in the wake of the independence referendum.

“God Save the Queen is the British anthem and should belong equally to the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish,” he said.

Which song for England?

Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Jerusalem would be his choice for England’s national anthem, according to the ConservativeHome website.

Jerusalem was chosen as the anthem to be played for English athletes competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi following a month-long public vote.

The England cricket team have used Jerusalem as an unofficial anthem for more than a decade – but still also sing God Save The Queen before many matches.

Land of Hope and Glory – which was used by England at the Commonwealth Games before 2010 – often comes up as second choice, behind Jerusalem, in public polls.

Toby Perkins said I Vow To Thee, My Country and There’ll Always Be an England were also options.

Campaigners have also suggested creating an anthem from scratch.

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