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Rees-Mogg plays Rule, Britannia! in the Commons to celebrate BBC Proms U-turn

The Conservative frontbencher was jokingly told off for breaking the values of the House.

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Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Jacob Rees-Mogg played a snippet of Rule, Britannia! in the House of Commons to celebrate the BBC reversing its decision about the Last Night Of The Proms.

The Commons Leader held his mobile phone close to the microphone near the despatch box and pressed play, ensuring MPs heard the words: “When Britain first, at heaven’s command.”

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle intervened to joke Mr Rees-Mogg had broken the values of the House, and teased: “How dare he.”

Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory will now be sung at the concert, following weeks of debate.

The BBC previously said the pieces would feature without lyrics, following controversy over their perceived historical links with colonialism and slavery, but they will now be performed by a select group of vocalists.

The BBC announced the U-turn one day after Tim Davie took over as director-general.

Mr Rees-Mogg told the Speaker: “I of course apologise for any offence I may have given the House, but when Britain first, at heaven’s command, arose from out the azure main, this was the anthem of the land and guardian angels sang this strain.

“Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves, and Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.

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Members of the audience during the Last Night Of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London (Guy Bell/PA)

Members of the audience during the Last Night Of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London (Guy Bell/PA)

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Members of the audience during the Last Night Of The Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London (Guy Bell/PA)

“And let us hope the BBC will recognise the virtues of Britannia in this land of hope and glory.”

Mr Rees-Mogg was replying to Conservative colleague Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield), who suggested the BBC had used a “smokescreen set of excuses” for its original decision to “mask yet another virtue-signalling capitulation to political correctness”.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the country is going through “an orgy of national embarrassment” about its traditions and history.

Later in Business Questions, Labour MP Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) quipped: “I was very disappointed with (Mr Rees-Mogg’s) little musical stunt with his mobile phone earlier on – a clear case I thought of Britannia waives the rules.”

PA