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It is time to let England’s voice be heard

2 min read

Shadow Minister Toby Perkins today launches his e-petition to establish an English National Anthem following his recent parliamentary debate.

Today I have launched an e-petitionto build on the overwhelming support for a new English National anthem to be used at sporting events.

It has long seemed incongruous to me that whilst we should, as England, sing the British National anthem before competing on the Football or Rugby field, particularly given that Wales and Scotland have their own anthems.

I am a passionate unionist and am no republican, but I believe that this era of devolution requires a new recognition that the United Kingdom is made up of four separate nations who choose to come together for our mutual benefit. Part of that is to recognise England as a separate entity to the UK.

I suspect that both we English and our partners in the UK have been guilty at times of seeing England and Britain as synonymous, but in the stands the fans have been ahead of us. Ever since the mid-nineties the Flag of St George has been the flag of choice at England Football matches, and so it is in that spirit that I think the time has come for an English anthem too.

Rivalries on the football and Rugby pitch with our neighbours are long-standing and deeply felt, and I believe it undermines the union for England to appropriate the British anthem as our own.

Of course, I recognise that many proud Englishmen and women have sung God Save the Queen over the years before competing and will have felt pride in that song. But so they should also feel pride when representing England in singing the English anthem, chosen by their fellow countrymen. All opinion polling on this has shown there is a demand for this, I hope that today’s petition launch will allow people to show how great that demand is, and that we in politics can catch up with the people and let England’s voice be heard.

The petition is now available to sign.

Toby Perkins is the LabourMP for Chesterfield and a Shadow Defence Minister

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