Jerusalem should not replace God Save the Queen as the national anthem because it fails to recognise that Jesus Christ visited Somerset, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The North-east Somerset MP was addressing the House of Commons on Wednesday 13 January as a bill to to debate a new English national anthem was introduced to parliament. During his 10-minute motion, Labour MP Toby Perkins said the proposal neither meant to offend the Queen or God and it was "out of respect to preserving many of these things" that he believed the time has come to "consider the question of an English national anthem."
But Rees-Mogg, who said he opposed the bill for "deep and serious reasons", asked: "What greater pleasure can there be for a true English-born man or woman to listen to their own national anthem?"
He said God Save the Queen was "A tune for our whole country, for our whole United Kingdom of which England is a part but an important part...[they are] The words that link us to our sovereign who is part of that chain who links us back to our immemorial history."
Adding that anthem involved "loyalty to the nation" and "encapsulates the patriotism that we wish to express what supporting a team," Rees-Mogg went on to say of Jerusalem, the hymn that usually tops polls to replace the anthem, was not suitable makes no mention of Jesus's visit to Glastonbury or Priddy, a village in Somerset.
He told MPs that Jesus was thought to have visited his constituency with Joseph of Arimathea, an "undeniable truth" not mentioned in the hymn.
"Jerusalem has a good tone to it," he told MPs. "It is a happy song for people to sing and we people should all be in favour of happiness. But does it really make us have that patriotic pride swell up in us in the way that we would like? Could we possibly want to have an anthem that questions this undeniable truth of God's own county, that county particularly selected for visitation by our Lord during his time on Earth?"
The Bill will be given its second reading in March.