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23rd Jun 2023

EU flag ‘banned’ from London Mayor’s office on Brexit vote anniversary

Simon Kelly

EU Flag

“Flying a flag is a way of showing solidarity.”

London’s City Hall is not allowed fly the EU flag out of “solidarity” with its EU residents to mark the seventh anniversary of the UK voting to leave the union.

The flag has been removed from an exemption list of flags which do not require planning permission for public buildings.

The Greater London Authority had planned to fly the flag on the date, however they have been told they could face prosecution based on the new legislation. The government say it is in the hands of the council to give consent.

Any country’s flag does not require consent in England. Flags representing the Commonwealth, the United Nations, sports clubs, the NHS and the rainbow flag are also exempt.

“The Mayor is proud to fly flags from City Hall – from the Union flag to the Ukraine flag in recent times,” said a spokesperson for mayor Sadiq Khan.

“Flying a flag is a way of showing solidarity, expressing our values, and showing pride in the identities we share.

“With over a million people calling London their home from other European countries it’s extraordinary that the Government has effectively banned the European flag being flown without going through a long and bureaucratic planning process.”

2021 census figures show that the number of Irish-born people living in England and Wales last year numbered 324,670. The figures mark a fall of 80,000 – around 20% from 2011.

Mayor’s message to Londoners from the EU

In an open letter to London-based EU citizens, Mayor Khan said:

 “Seven years ago today our country voted to leave the European Union. It was a heartbreaking day for me, and I know it was for many of you too.

“There is no doubt that in the years since, Brexit has caused huge damage to our city and created a great deal of uncertainty for many of you. But you stayed with us.

“Despite the appalling uncertainty over settled status, despite being used as bargaining chips in the negotiations and despite the antimigrant rhetoric coming from this government, you kept the faith and continued to make London your home.”

Khan also said that he would back Labour’s plans for EU citizens who live and pay tax in the UK to have the right to vote in general elections.

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