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Labour peer wanted to scrap God Save the Queen over 'anti-Scots' verse

Euro 2020: Scotland fans chat in London’s Leicester Square

England and Scotland go head to head in tonight’s European Football Championships. Tipped to be one of the competition’s biggest games, many have recalled the famous Euro 96 match where the Three Lions got the better of the Scots with a 2-0 victory. A lot rests on the shoulders of the Scottish national side: it is their first major tournament in 23 years.

Equally as much weight has been placed on England, who will play to a home crowd at Wembley and hope to replicate their win against Croatia.

Many have noted that the game will not only be confined to sport.

In last week’s Prime Minister’s Questions, tensions were at an all-time high after the Scottish National Party‘s (SNP) Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said: “I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the European Championships kicking off later this week.

“Can I take the opportunity to wish all the best to our country, Scotland, Steve Clarke and the team, and to remind the team it is time for heroes?”

National anthem: A Labour peer suggested striking out a verse of the national anthem

National anthem: A Labour peer suggested striking out a verse of the national anthem (Image: GETTY)

Scotland: The team lost their opener against the Czech Republic

Scotland: The team lost their opener against the Czech Republic (Image: GETTY)

Mr Johnson replied: “Can I by the way Mr Speaker wish all the very best to Scotland, and England, and all the home nations who may be playing in this…,” pointing at Mr Blackford, he added: “I don’t know whether he is going to reciprocate Mr Speaker, but you never know. It’s worth a shot, I thought. Oh, he did. There you go. That’s nice of him.”

Controversy has surrounded English and Scottish sport and politics for years.

In 2007, ex-Attorney General and Labour peer Lord Peter Goldsmith made the suggestion that a verse of the English national anthem be struck out for fear of offending Scots.

The sixth verse of the song urges God to help 17th Century commander Marshal Wade “crush” the “rebellious Scots”.

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Ian Blackford: The SNP Westminster leader and Boris Johnson exchanged jibes at PMQs

Ian Blackford: The SNP Westminster leader and Boris Johnson exchanged jibes at PMQs (Image: GETTY)

Lord Goldsmith said people had to look at “different ways of saying” what links the UK.

He was at the time advising Gordon Brown on citizenship, and said a “number of people” had raised concern over the lyric.

The BBC noted that the lyric was “little-known and even less-sung”.

It asks God to come to the aid of Marshal George Wade, who was sent to quell rebellious Scottish Highlanders in the wake of the Jacobite rising of 1715.

It says: “May he sedition hush, And like a torrent rush, Rebellious Scots to crush.”

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Lord Goldsmith: The Labour peer claimed that people were offended by the verse

Lord Goldsmith: The Labour peer claimed that people were offended by the verse (Image: GETTY)

Scottish fans: Thousands of Scottish fans have arrived into London through King's Cross station

Scottish fans: Thousands of Scottish fans have arrived into London through King’s Cross station (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to the BBC’s Daily Politics, Lord Goldsmith said: “Quite a number of people have raised the issue of the national anthem in a number of ways.

“I think the national anthem is an important part of our national tradition.”

He added: “But the review is about different ways of sharing our tradition and national identity

“What we have to look at is different ways of saying what it is that links the country together.”

Euros 2020: Scotland ranks among the bottom of Euros achievement stats

Euros 2020: Scotland ranks among the bottom of Euros achievement stats (Image: Express Newspapers)

In 2010, Lord Goldsmith’s efforts were shunned after Labour confirmed there was no prospect of the national anthem being changed.

It insisted it was a source of pride for people across the UK.

The announcement provoked fury in Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop, the former Scottish culture minister, said she hoped the offending verse would be consigned to history, with or without the help of the UK Government.

Euros news: Videos on social media appear to show Scottish fans chanting anti-English songs

Euros news: Videos on social media appear to show Scottish fans chanting anti-English songs (Image: GETTY)

She said: “Thankfully, it has been many years since this offensive verse has been sung.”

Meanwhile, an estimated 20,000 Scots made their way to London during the week, with thousands more expected to arrive on Friday.

Pictures showed fans partying in Leicester Square and Hyde Park on Thursday evening.

At Leicester Square, revellers turned the William Shakespeare fountain into a giant bubble bath, with videos on social media appearing to show crowds chanting: “We hate f***ing England.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed