UK Politics

MP calls for fresh debate over 'English anthem'

English football team
Image caption The English team is in South Africa and some say they need an English anthem

Parliament should debate the case for an "English national anthem" that fans can sing at sporting events like the World Cup, a Lib Dem MP has said.

Greg Mulholland said it was "frustrating" to hear fans sing God Save The Queen in South Africa as it was the anthem for the United Kingdom.

He told MPs there should be a "properly established" anthem for English teams.

For the first time, Jerusalem will be played to celebrate English winners at this year's Commonwealth Games.

The anthem was chosen for medal ceremonies at the event in Delhi - ahead of the God Save The Queen and Land of Hope and Glory - after a public vote backed by Commonwealth Games England.

Historic decision

Mr Mulholland raised the issue during Business Questions in Parliament, where the government sets out future business for the weeks ahead and MPs can call for debates on chosen subjects.

He has raised the issue before, claiming that English fans are at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts in Wales and Scotland.

While Wales has its own national anthem, Scottish football and rugby fans have sung the unofficial Flower of Scotland since the 1990s and this was chosen for the Scottish team at the Commonwealth Games following a similar public vote.

Mr Mulholland told MPs "it was wonderful to see the Cross of St George flying" after England's victory over Slovenia, which booked the team's place in the last 16 of the competition.

But he added: "However, it is still frustrating to see England singing the wrong anthem, the anthem of the United Kingdom.

"Following the historic decision to use Jerusalem at the Commonwealth Games, can we now have a debate about properly establishing an English national anthem for when England compete as opposed to the UK."

In response, Leader of the House of Commons Sir George Young said he had raised an "important issue".

Decisions on which anthems should be played are taken by national sporting associations.

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