Calls to SACK BBC Songs of Praise producer who compared people who sing Rule Britannia to Nazis and said the song should be rewritten
Cat Lewis said that singing about how Britons would ‘never be slaves’ during Rule Britannia was akin to Nazis shouting about how they would ‘never be forced into a gas chamber’
A Conservative MP has called for the producers of the BBC‘s Songs of Praise to be sacked after its boss compared Rule Britannia to Nazis singing about gas chambers.
Tory MP Richard Holden has claimed the show’s executive producer Cat Lewis needs to ‘get on the programme’ or face the axe after her outburst on social media.
Ms Lewis, 55, said singing the anthem was similar to neo-Nazis shouting they ‘will never be forced into a gas chamber’.
She also called for centuries-old Rule Britannia and Land of Hope of Glory to be rewritten, saying that ‘slavery was Britain’s Holocaust’.
It comes after the BBC announced it would drop singing of the patriotic songs from the Last Night of the Proms this year.
Mr Holden, MP for North West Durham, said the BBC’s decision was ‘crackers’ and branded it ‘bizarre’ that corporation bosses even discussed the matter.
Ms Lewis – CEO of company Nine Lives Media which produces Songs of Praise – ‘clearly misjudged the mood of the country’ with her comments, Mr Holden added.
Mr Holden said: ‘I just find it bizarre that this is even a debate. Why would we do this? It seems crackers to me.
‘It’s just such a normal part of national life. It seems so weird, that’s my view.’
He added: ‘This production company have clearly misjudged the mood of the country.
‘They need to get onto the programme or [the BBC should] get something new.’
The BBC prompted a fresh row after announcing that traditional favourites such as Land Of Hope And Glory will be performed without lyrics at the Proms (pictured in 2014)
Tory MP Richard Holden has claimed Cat Lewis needs to ‘get on the programme’ or face the axe after her outburst on social media
Critics say Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory are racist because of their supposed links to slavery and colonialism.
Traditionally, both songs are performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall to a flag-waving crowd at the Last Night of the Proms.
The BBC declined to comment on whether it would take any action against Ms Lewis or if it was looking for a new production company for Songs of Praise.
Earlier this week, Ms Lewis blasted the lyrics of Rule Britannia and declared the nation shouldn’t ‘gloat’ about its history as the BBC Proms row intensified.
Ms Lewis tweeted: ‘Do those Brits who believe it’s OK to sing an 18th Century song about never being enslaved, written when the UK was enslaving and killing millions of innocents, also believe it’s appropriate for neo-Nazis to shout, ‘we will never be forced into a gas chamber’.
She later added to her comments and said she would launch a national contest to find new lyrics for the songs if she were producing The Proms.
Cat Lewis tweeted: ‘Do those Brits who believe it’s OK to sing an 18th Century song about never being enslaved, written when the UK was enslaving and killing millions of innocents, also believe it’s appropriate for neo-Nazis to shout, ”We will never be forced into a gas chamber.” ‘
Ms Lewis said if she was producing the Proms, she would suggest a national competition to find new lyrics for Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory to find ‘words which celebrate and unify our fantastic country, because the music to both is undoubtedly fabulous’
She tweeted: ‘I believe slavery was Britain’s holocaust.
‘We should apologise for it properly and yet at the moment, we have no memorial to enslaved people in the UK. We should not celebrate slave owners.
‘And we should not sing in a gloating way that Britons will never be enslaved, when we were responsible for enslaving so many.
‘We should have anthems which celebrate what is truly great about the UK, which we can all sing and this will help unite our country.
‘If I was producing the Proms, I’d suggest launching a national competition to find new lyrics for Rule Britannia and Land Of Hope And Glory – words which celebrate and unify our fantastic country, because the music to both is undoubtedly fabulous.’
Bafta-winning producer Ms Lewis began her career as a BBC production trainee in 1988 before working as a reporter and moving on to Granada television.
The TV industry veteran later launched her own company, based in Manchester – which she says has a £3 million turnover.