David Lepper (Labour, Brighton Pavillion) writes:
Thank you for your letter of 21st and 31st October about Daniel Kawczynski’s Early Day Motion on the adoption of ‘Jerusalem’ as the National Anthem of England. I did not support this Early Day Motion.
Personally, I see no reason for there to be a National Anthem for England when there is a National Anthem for the United Kingdom.
However, it does seem to me that any decision on this matter needs a far fuller debate than simply taking sides over a Parliamentary Early Day Motion.
Personally, while I quite like the Poetry of William Blake and find ‘Jerusalem’ a stirring poem, I suspect that there might well be other supporters of the notion of an English National Anthem who might not be happy with that role being taken by a Poem which when it appeared as part of Blake’s longer work Milton, was an attack on the Church, Academic and Literary establishment of his day by a mystic Christian who, it has been argued, subscribed to the Manichean Heresy.
I note that seven days after Mr Kawczynski put down his Early Day Motion another Conservative MP Peter Luff put forward an amendment to replace ‘Jerusalem’ with ‘I Vow to Thee My Country’.
Clearly, both the principle of whether we need an English National Anthem and the details of what that Anthem should be are matters which need more debate by those who feel this is an important issue.
David Lepper MP
Peter Luff’s amendment is here, signed by just Peter Luff. Daniel Kawczynski’s original motion is here, with just eleven names. We face an uphill battle!
I am pleased to hear of your campaign for a national anthem, and have taken the opportunity to look through your website. My own interest came from my constituents in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Here being so close to Wales, there is often a feeling that they loose out compared to their fellow Brits across the border in Wales.
I have been petitioned many times, and with the debate over English Votes on English matters raging, thought I would add to the call for a separate English anthem in the way we politicians can. My choice of Jerusalem comes from conversations with constituents, and my own personal opinion. There are of course other songs, ‘I vow to thee my country’, and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. But Jerusalem to me is the most appropriate for an English national anthem (despite its religious overtones).
I am unsure as to why it has been unsupported; I thought I would at least have greater support than has been forthcoming. Perhaps you could encourage people through your website to ask their MPs to sign.
Daniel Kawczynski MP
I contacted Hugo Swire MP to ask why he had not signed Daniel’s EDM. This was his reply:
As Shadow Secretary of State I only sign EDMs on the approved Conservative Party list. I am afraid EDM 2791 is not included, so I am unable to sign it.
Email now winging its way to the Conservative Party HQ to find out why they do not approve of this motion.