Tory MPs fall for 'fake news' over Union Jack Scotland ban
Under the reported plan, the Union Jack will fly from government buildings only on Remembrance Sunday. It will not be hoisted on other royal anniversaries and birthdays. The procedure is in line with other public buildings, a practice already adopted in recent years at the government’s St. Andrew’s House headquarters in Edinburgh.
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Sturgeon hit back at critics, insisting that this is not a new practice and was not ordered by her. She said the updated administrative step was “sensible,” and had actually been in place since 2010.
Former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond jumped to Sturgeon's defence, stepping forward to reveal he was the one behind the decision back in 2010 to use the the Royal Banner of Scotland - also known as the Lion Rampant - instead.
What a load of complete piffle from The Mail, The Telegrapgh et al. The hoisting of Lion Rampant had nothing whatsoever to do with @NicolaSturgeon.— Alex Salmond (@AlexSalmond) January 24, 2018
I changed the policy on flag flying back in 2010 after an audience with Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral the previous year. https://t.co/edOMoEuV06
On Wednesday Tory MPs were infuriated by the news - but Sturgeon was quick to shutdown her naysayers.
3/ since 2010, the Lion Rampant has been flown on Royal occasions - entirely appropriately. Since the Lion Rampant is the Royal Banner, it is not clear to me why anyone would object to that. However, the key point is that there has been no change to this since 2010.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 24, 2018
4/ yes, the civil service recently decided to update the published guidance, but simply to ensure that it accurately reflected the long standing practice - the underlying policy has not changed. And why would it?— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 24, 2018
5/ as for the claim that I ordered a change, I have issued no instructions, orders, authorisations - or even expressed an opinion - about changing flag policy. The update of the guidance was an administrative step - albeit a sensible one - and not done at my request.— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 24, 2018
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson took to Twitter to lash out at the SNP, telling them its focus needs to be elsewhere.
The SNP government should be more concerned with raising standards, not lowering flags. Dismal stuff.— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) January 24, 2018
Sturgeon was quick to call out Davidson online, labelling her accusations as "fake news."
Memo to PM’s new ‘fake news’ unit. The first line of defence against fake news is for your own politicians to stop peddling it. https://t.co/TTaeV50pDE— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) January 24, 2018
Westminster MPs swept up in the wave of anti-flag news labeled the change as "outrageous," accusing the SNP of "small mindedness" and a "tawdry attempt to sow more division."
"The SNP lost the referendum and they seem to be forgetting this crucial point,” Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Telegraph. "This decision smacks of small mindedness and is an affront to the majority of Scots who voted to remain within the UK."
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith also said the decision was “outrageous."
“It is insulting to Scottish people to pretend that somehow Scotland is not within the UK,” he said. “It is a tawdry attempt to sow more division – when will the SNP learn that this is not what the vast majority of the Scottish people want?
“I am sure the vast majority of Scottish people who do want to leave the UK will recognize what a risk the SNP poses to the UK,” he said.
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen also took a swipe at the SNP. “The SNP clearly thinks they won the Scottish referendum and therefore can remove the Union flag when they should be removing the European Union flag,” he said.
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