Rugby Chiefs dash hopes of an 'English' National Anthem

England's Rob Webber, Mike Brown and Chris Robshaw singing the national anthem. Credit: PA

A Chesterfield MP bidding to replace God Save the Queen as the anthem for English sports teams has expressed disappointment after rugby bosses indicated they would oppose the move.

A Bill tabled by Labour's Toby Perkins calling for England to have its own national anthem for international fixtures - as the Welsh and Scottish do - isdue to be discussed in the Commons.

The MP joined a choir to sing Jerusalem, the words originally penned by William Blake, on nearby College Green ahead of the debate.

But the campaign was dealt a blow after sources at the Rugby Football Union (RFU) indicated it was "happy with the status quo".

Mr Perkins told the Press Association:"I just think that for them to say there is no demand for it, I would be interested to know how they came to thatconclusion.

"There has been considerable polling evidence since the Bill had its firstreading which suggests there is a considerable amount of demand for it."

He said that even if his Private Members' Bill failed to secure its secondreading on Friday he hoped the Government would agree to stage a publicconsultation on the issue.

Mr Perkins launched the campaign in January, when he was joined by a group of high-profile Labour politicians for an impromptu rendition of Jerusalem outside the Commons.

Olympic and Commonwealth Weightlifter Zoe Smith on whether Team England should compete to their own national anthem...

Leicester East MP Keith Vaz, Labour frontbencher JonathanAshworth and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, followed suit when Labour former minister Ben Bradshaw struck up the well-known tune.

An e-petition has gathered nearly 2,000 signatures and argues that it is

"time for England to have its own national anthem, to enable us to establish our English identity and support our role in the United Kingdom".Just as the Welsh sing Land Of Our Fathers, and the Scots sing Flower OfScotland, there should be an "anthem for England", the petition states.

Asked whether David Cameron thought England teams should have their own anthem, the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said: "It is up to individual sporting bodies to decide what is played before the start of international contests."