MPs belted out a version of Jerusalem yesterday as they called for England to get its own national anthem.
Around a dozen politicians gathered outside the Commons to launch an online petition urging the government to look at the issue.
Labour backbencher Toby Perkins has tabled a Bill in Parliament and argues that God Save The Queen should be the British anthem, pointing out that Scotland and Wales both have their own tunes for sporting occasions.
The MPs — holding a banner featuring St George’s cross and the message “Let England’s voice be heard” — initially resisted entreaties from journalists to sing.
But the group, including 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 Jerusalem.
Mr Perkins said opinion polls had showed “widespread support” for the idea of an English anthem. Along with Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory, I Vow to Thee My Country and Swing Low, Sweet Chariot have been mooted.
The petition on Parliament’s website says a separate anthem would help “establish our English identity.”
“Wales has Land of Our Fathers, Scotland has Flower of Scotland — we want an anthem for England at sporting events,” the petition adds.
Mr Perkins said: “The level of interest and support for this has been overwhelming, and I am delighted that there is now a chance for people to show their backing for the Bill by signing our petition.
“We will be aiming to show the level of support that there is across the country for this, so that the government embark upon a proper consultation to select an English national anthem for use in sporting events when England are represented.”