‘Let’s hope the BBC will recognise the virtues of Britannia in this land of hope and glory!’ Moment Jacob Rees-Mogg plays a snippet of famous anthem in Commons to celebrate Proms U-turn
- Conservative Leader of the House played the anthem as MPs burst into laughter
- Speaker Lindsay Hoyle joked, ‘How dare he’ before Mr Rees-Mogg read lyrics
- U-turn followed major backlash, including 100,000-strong MailOnline petition
Jacob Rees-Mogg played a snippet of Rule, Britannia! in the House of Commons to celebrate the BBC reversing its decision about the Last Night Of The Proms.
The Commons Leader held his mobile phone close to the microphone near the despatch box and pressed play, ensuring MPs heard the words: ‘When Britain first, at heaven’s command.’
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle intervened to joke Mr Rees-Mogg had broken the values of the House, and teased: ‘How dare he.’
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Commons stunt followed the BBC’s decision to sing the lyrics of Rule Britannia! at the Proms after initially saying the anthem would only be played
Mr Rees-Mogg told the Speaker: ‘I of course apologise for any offence I may have given the House, but when Britain first, at heaven’s command, arose from out the azure main, this was the anthem of the land and guardian angels sang this strain.
‘Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves, and Britons never, never, never shall be slaves.
‘And let us hope the BBC will recognise the virtues of Britannia in this land of hope and glory.’
Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory will now be sung at the concert, following weeks of debate.
The BBC previously said the pieces would feature without lyrics, following controversy over their perceived historical links with colonialism and slavery, but they will now be performed by a select group of vocalists.
The BBC announced the U-turn one day after Tim Davie took over as director-general.
More than 100,000 people had signed a petition calling on the song to be reinstated with the lyrics.
Mr Rees-Mogg told the Speaker: ‘I of course apologise for any offence I may have given the House, but when Britain first, at heaven’s command, arose from out the azure main, this was the anthem of the land and guardian angels sang this strain’
Mr Rees-Mogg was replying to Conservative colleague Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield), who suggested the BBC had used a ‘smokescreen set of excuses’ for its original decision to ‘mask yet another virtue-signalling capitulation to political correctness’.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed the country is going through ‘an orgy of national embarrassment’ about its traditions and history.
Later in Business Questions, Labour MP Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) quipped: ‘I was very disappointed with (Mr Rees-Mogg’s) little musical stunt with his mobile phone earlier on – a clear case I thought of Britannia waives the rules.’