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EXCLUSIVE: As the Olympics loom, "Jerusalem" is David Cameron's choice as England's sporting national anthem

By Paul Goodman
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Mr Cameron has said that were England to have an anthem for its sporting teams his own choice would be "Jerusalem" - the musical setting of William Blake's poem by Sir Hubert Parry.

The Prime Minister added that he could understand why people felt that English teams should have an anthem on the same terms as Scottish or Welsh teams.

He also said that although some on the left claim "Jerusalem" for their own - because of the reference to "dark satanic mills" - he disagrees and believes that it should belong to everyone.

Mr Cameron gave his view to a group of young Tory activists during a Downing Street reception for the Conservative Future earlier this month.

The Government has no official view on an anthem for England, believing that it is a decision for the relevant sporting authorities to take for themselves.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question from Binita Mehta, a Conservative Future member at the University of Warwick.

Ms Mehta is currently working for British Future as a member of its internship programme. The organisation has called for England to follow Scotland and Wales in having its own anthem.

A letter organised by British Future pointed out that "When British athletes win Gold for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, God Save the Queen will play to celebrate."

"However, when it is England who take to the sporting field to play rugby or football, they should be heralded by an English anthem for an English team, just as Flower of Scotland and Land of My Fathers are sung as Scottish and Welsh anthems."

The letter, which was printed in the Daily Telegraph was signed by Sunder Katwala, the Director of British Future, and MPs from the main parties, including Robert Halfon, David Lammy and Greg Mulholland.

I was also a co-signatory, as was Iain Dale.  Mr Mulholland has tabled a new parliamentary motion, arguing that the anthem campaign can be won in time for the 2014 football World Cup in Brazil.  Mr Halfon has said that he also favours "Jerusalem".

More details on the British Future website here.


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