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Flying Union Jack should be ‘compulsory’ for all schools, says Tory MP

06 Apr 2021 4 minute read
Union Flag

Flying the Union Jack should be “compulsory” for all schools, according to a Tory MP.

Tom Hunt, who represents Ipswich, made the suggestion after Daniel Smith, the principal at Pimlico Academy in Westminster, central London announced a review over the flying of the Union flag outside the school building, describing it is a symbol that “evokes often intense reactions”.

The intervention from Hunt follows a demand from Westminster that the Union Jack be flown on all UK Government buildings, every day.

The guidance from Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, stated that the Union Jack must always be flown in a ‘superior position’ to the Welsh flag.

It was claimed that “the Kingdom of England and Wales” is one of the “constituent nations” of the UK, in a statement announcing the move.

Tom Hunt said: “The flying of the Union flag should be compulsory for all schools. If any pupils and teachers have concerns about this then surely they can be ‘educated’ about what the flag actually represents. Belongs to every single British person.”

He has previously said: “I reject membership of an organisation that tries to force members to prominently fly EU flags outside state buildings.”

David Clark, former Foreign Office adviser to Robin Cook, said: “State-enforced patriotism is the preserve of authoritarian regimes and used to be entirely alien to our political culture. But here we are in 2021, gradually going to the dogs, with this sort of dangerous nonsense getting a pass from a lot of people who ought to know better.”

Currently, Union flags are only required to be flown on all UK Government buildings on designated days. However, the new guidance, which will come into place in the summer, asks that the flag to be flown all year round.

The UK Government says it will now also allow dual flagging to “cut red” tape. This means that a national flag, such as the Red Dragon, can be flown on the same pole as the Union Jack. But the Welsh flag would have to be flown below, according to the guidance.

The purpose of this is to “allow organisations to highlight local and national identities”.

‘Kingdoms of England and Wales’

Oliver Dowden said: “The Union flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom, and it is so called because it embodies the emblems of the three constituent nations united under one sovereign—the Kingdoms of England and Wales, of Scotland and of Northern Ireland.

“It serves as a reminder of our shared history and union. Flags other than the Union, such as national flags of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom, the armed forces flag, the Commonwealth flag, county and other local flags, can be flown on non-designated days.”

He added: “We will also cut red tape to allow dual flagging, where two flags can be flown on one pole.

“This will allow organisations to highlight local and national identities, for example by flying a Middlesex county flag alongside the Union flag in Middlesex, or the Saltire alongside the Union flag in Scotland.

“Where organisations have two flag poles, they can fly the Union flag alongside another flag, for example, flying the Saltire alongside the Union flag in Scotland.

“The Union flag must always be flown in the superior position.”

“The changes will help champion the UK’s national identities and strengthen our shared pride in the Union through the institutions that define Britain.

“Currently, Union flags are only required to be flown on all UK Government buildings in England, Wales and Scotland on designated days, such as the Queen’s birthday.

“The changes will apply to all Government buildings across the UK, with the Union flag being flown by default if nothing else is being flown, such as another national flag of the UK, or a county flag or other flags to mark civic pride.

“The guidance will also encourage other buildings, such as councils, to follow this example, where they have a flagpole and wish to fly a flag.”

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