A Tory backbench campaign to get the national anthem played on TV and radio more regularly appears to be bearing fruit.
Earlier this month, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said the BBC should return to playing God Save the Queen at the end of each day’s programming, a suggestion which was welcomed by government ministers in the Queen’s platinum jubilee year.
The anthem was played daily on BBC One until 1997, when it simultaneously started carrying the BBC News channel in the early hours of the morning. The anthem can still be heard on Radio 4 before it hands over to BBC World Service.
On Monday, GB News, which went on-air in June, announced it will start broadcasting the national anthem at the beginning of its live programming every day.
The channel has said a rendition of God Save The Queen will air across GB News Television and GB News Radio every day at 5.59am, starting on January 18.
Editorial director Michael Booker has said it will be a “welcome addition” to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.
Booker added: “We always promised we would celebrate what’s good about our country when we can, and the Queen’s 70-year reign is definitely worth celebrating.
“We’ve chosen an uplifting instrumental version which, for our television viewers, will feature stunning scenes from across the UK.
“We think it’s a lovely way to start the day.”
The news was welcomed by Rosindell – who hailed the channel for “leading the way in capturing the patriotic instinct of Britain” – and fellow Tory backbencher Michael Farbricant, who tweeted a gif of a union flag.
But not everyone was thrilled.
Weekend reports suggest Johnson is now focusing on “Operation Red Meat” where the government will rush through controversial proposals to distract the backbench Tories who could hand in letters of no confidence about the prime minister.
Meanwhile, culture secretary Nadine Dorries was anxious to mention her support for anthem-playing.
In the Commons, she told an SNP MP he had treated God Save The Queen as a “dirty word” when he jibed about government proposals that the BBC should play it at the end of each day.
As MPs debated Dorries’ announcement that the BBC licence fee would be frozen at £159 for two years, SNP MP Patrick Grady said: “She says she can’t tell the BBC what to do, but she also says she wants the BBC to play God Save The Queen more often.
“I wonder if she think today’s announcement makes that more or less likely?”
Grady’s question came after Dorries repeatedly told MPs she could not tell the BBC how to spend its budget, in light of their concerns about the national broadcaster’s future output.
He also described the BBC as the “glue that holds the union together”, and asked if reforming its funding model would make the UK “stronger or weaker”.
Dorries replied: “I didn’t hear the second part of the question but what I will say is: what is wrong with playing God Save The Queen?
“He asked the question as if that was a dirty word.”
In the same session, Labour shadow minister Fleur Anderson said the BBC World Service was the “envy of the world” and served countries across the globe, stressing it should be protected from cuts.
She added: “Cutting funding to the BBC and the World Service is already leaving the path clear for Russian and Chinese influence in those countries.
“Does she agree with me that only an unpatriotic party would cut the real-terms funding of this national treasure?”
Dorries replied: “Unpatriotic?
“I don’t believe it was this side of the House that was laughing at the prospect of the national anthem being played on television.
“I think it was that side of the House that was doing that.
“I am not unpatriotic, I am very patriotic.”