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English national anthem: MPs to debate whether England should stop singing God Save The Queen at sport events

Jerusalem is the firm favourite for English national anthem

By Eleanor Ross

Published 13/01/2016

Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge sing the National Anthem during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.
Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge sing the National Anthem during the Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

MPs are to debate whether God Save the Queen should be replaced by a new English national anthem at sporting events.

God Save the Queen, the UK’s national anthem, is usually used to represent English teams and athletes during competitions.

But Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins thinks England deserves its own anthem, with the Bill he proposed due to be debated in Parliament.

And a change could have serious implications in Northern Ireland.

Alternatives to God Save the Queen, which some have described as a "dirge", include the song Jerusalem, which was unofficially adopted as the English national anthem for England during the 2014 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Jerusalem, with words by William Blake and music by Hubert Parry, is a firm favourite among members. Gareth Young, a member of Anthem for England, told the BBC: "It's a beautiful song and it actually mentions and is about England, unlike its competitors.

“People wrongly think it's a hymn and object to the fact it references a Middle Eastern city, but Jerusalem was actually a metaphor for a better place.”

Several pressure groups are pushing for an anthem for England including England in my Heart and Anthem for England.

Land of Hope and Glory, by Edward Elgar, is also among the numbers being suggested, having been used to represent England at national sporting events in the past. Following MPs' initial vote on the matter, the Bill will go onto a second reading.

The English National Anthem Bill on paper has nothing to do with Northern Ireland but, as the Irish FA concede, it’s very unlikely Northern Ireland would continue with ‘God Save the Queen’ if they were the only country from the UK left using it ahead of international fixtures.

Read more: God Save the Queen may be banned at Windsor Park if Labour MP's bill is passed by Parliament

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