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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 18:24 GMT
MPs demand BBC reinstates anthem
The BBC Proms
The National Anthem is played at the BBC Proms
A cross-party group of MPs is calling for the reinstatement of the National Anthem at the end of normal programmes on BBC One.

The anthem has not been played since the channel began round-the-clock broadcasting more than four years ago and the BBC has already rejected the call.

But 67 MPs have signed a Commons motion calling for its reintroduction to coincide with the Queen's Golden Jubilee year.

The motion has been tabled by the Conservative MP, Andrew Rosindell, who says the National Anthem could still be played when BBC One transfers to News 24 in the early hours of the morning.

Royal birthdays

Among the backers are the former shadow home secretary, Ann Widdecombe, the ex-Labour minister, Frank Field and the Democratic Unionist leader, Ian Paisley.

Currently the National Anthem is played nightly on Radio 4 at closedown.

It is also broadcast on the station at 0700GMT on the birthdays of the Queen - actual and official - the Queen Mother, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales.

The BBC's Director General Greg Dyke said the corporation had "seriously considered" Mr Rosindell's suggestion.

But it was decided that such a move would be inappropriate because the channel broadcasts 24-hours a day and playing the anthem would "suggest the service was closing down".

In a letter to the MP, Mr Dyke said: "I really do not think we can do this in the context of our current style and output."

Special events

Decisions over the number of times the National Anthem is played have been made in consultation with Buckingham Palace.

The Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations will run throughout 2002 but a long weekend of festivities is scheduled for 1-4 June.

Monday 3 June will be an additional Bank Holiday and the Spring Bank Holiday, which would otherwise have fallen on 27 May, has been moved to Tuesday 4 June.

Details of all the planned events are on the Buckingham Palace website, which also provides a "toolkit" for planning Jubilee events.

See also:

07 Jan 02 | Arts
Bryan Adams snaps Queen
03 Jan 02 | England
The Queen steps out for Jubilee
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