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MPs serenaded with Jerusalem amid call for new England sports anthem

A bid to ditch God Save The Queen as the anthem sung by England sports teams will be debated in Parliament as Westminster echoes with verses of Jerusalem.

A Bill, tabled by Labour politician Toby Perkins, which calls for England to have its own national anthem for international fixtures as the Welsh and Scottish do, will be heard in the Commons.

The MP for Chesterfield has arranged for a choir to sing Jerusalem, with words originally penned by William Blake, along with other contending anthems, on College Green, a stone's throw from the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Perkins launched the campaign in January, when he was joined by a group of high-profile Labour politicians for an impromptu rendition of Jerusalem outside the Commons.

Home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz, Labour frontbencher Jonathan Ashworth and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, followed suit when Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw struck up the well-known tune.

An e-petition has since gathered nearly 2,000 signatures and argues that it is "time for England to have its own national anthem, to enable us to establish our English identity and support our role in the United Kingdom".

Just as the Welsh sing Land Of Our Fathers, and the Scots sing Flower Of Scotland, there should be an "anthem for England", the petition states.

The petition has fallen far short of the 100,000 signatures required to guarantee a cause is raised in Parliament, although Mr Perkins has submitted it as a Private Members' Bill, which is listed for a second reading on Friday.

Mr Perkins told The Times that his campaign was "not hostile to the monarchy in any way".

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