October 28, 2016

REVEALED: MPs ‘rude’ plan to drop God Save The Queen from all of England’s sporting events

GOD Save The Queen would be scrapped as the national anthem for the England football team under plans being put forward in Parliament this week.

The move has been branded “rude” by friends of the Queen.

A cross-party group of MPs is backing a proposal that would see the song replaced by an England-specific anthem for international sporting events, including this year’s Uefa European Championships.

Among those supporting the legislation, which will go before the Commons on Wednesday, are former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt and Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland.

Although the Government has no official stance on the issue, Prime Minister David Cameron has previously backed calls for an English anthem for the country’s sporting events, with him declaring the hymn Jerusalem as his favourite.

However, the Queen is not said to favour the move, with her cousin suggesting the Monarch would consider the proposed change “rude”.

The Honourable Margaret Rhodes said: “We have been happily singing God Save The Queen for ever – 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.”

Mrs Rhodes, 90, who is one of Her Majesty’s closest confidantes, acting as her bridesmaid and lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother for more than a decade, said: “As far as I’m concerned it’s a silly idea.”

Under the plans, God Save The Queen would be reserved for United Kingdom and Team GB events instead of being used to cheer on England-only teams and individuals.

Senior Labour MP Toby Perkins, who is sponsoring the Bill, believes it will strengthen people’s English identities.

He said: “I don’t do this out of antipathy for the British national anthem, I am a Christian, and I am not a Republican, but I want to keep God Save the Queen for Britain, and instead introduce a purely English Anthem to be sung in advance of England football and rugby matches and other sporting events.

“The union between the home nations is a dear and precious thing that is under threat. England is a component part of the UK but it is not the same thing as Britain.”

His English National Anthem Bill, if successful, would require culture secretary John Whittingdale to hold a public consultation on choosing an English anthem.

If the country chose an English anthem, sporting bodies would be instructed to have it played at international contests, medal ceremonies and other events involving teams or individuals representing England, with God Save The Queen retained for UK and GB events.

Mr Perkins will present the Bill under the ten minute rule procedure, named after the time a backbencher can speak on the Bill’s first outing.

Because it is neither Government legislation nor official Labour policy, such bills have a limited chance but can progress with enough backing. Last night Mr Hunt, who is co-sponsoring the Bill, said: “Scotland and Wales both have strong anthems of their own, and we should have one for England. It’s time English sporting teams had an English anthem.”

Mr Mulholland said: “I am pleased to back this Bill, it is high time English sporting associations showed the common-sense and courage to follow the example of Commonwealth Games England and use an English anthem for English athletes and teams, rightly leaving God Save the Queen for Team GB at the Olympics and World Championships. It is also time to give English people a say as to what the English anthem should be. How much longer do we have to hear about Scottish and Welsh people refusing, understandably, to sing God Save the Queen because it is misappropriated by English teams?”

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said: “All four parts of the UK should have their own anthem. Even the Isle of Man has its own anthem.”

Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski added: “It’s high time we celebrated our Englishness more.”

In 2010, the public voted for Jerusalem to be played for English athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Voters chose between God Save The Queen, Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory.

Last night Buckingham Palace declined to comment.

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