A minister has called for children to make US-style pledges of allegiance at school to 'unite diverse Britain'.
The Express reports that Nick Boles, who they describe as a 'close friend of Prime Minister David Cameron and Education Secretary Michael Gove' claimed that the changing face of Britain meant the 'common bonds' that united previous generations had weakened because of years of large-scale immigration.
Mr Boles – a Planning Minister – said it was time to learn from America where children have started their school day with a pledge to uphold patriotism, liberty and justice since 1892.
He said that in the US, youngsters reciting a simple 10-second sentence from an early age has successfully instilled a 'commonality', regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
He added that the wording of the pledge should be up to public debate, and should not be compulsory. Mr Boles also said he would not want it to be a solemn oath of loyalty to the Crown, but that it could make reference to the Queen, and be amended to reflect national identity in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Mr Boles made his comments in the wake of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, and the anti-Muslim response to his death. He said the behaviour of groups like the English Defence League underlined the need for longer-term action.
A source close to Mr Boles said that while some people might regard the pledge as 'unBritish' it would actually 'just be a moment that children would get used to'.
"It would instil in them, however many the number of first languages in the classroom that they're in, a sense they're all part of one thing which is rather great," the source said.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more