MP calls for public buildings to fly Union flag to mark Brexit day

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Conservative MP has called for Union flags to be flown from all public buildings across the UK to mark Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Sir John Hayes made the request to Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay, arguing it would be a “fitting tribute” to the referendum result that would show the UK is “unafraid of our patriotism”.

Boris Johnson is set to take the country out of the EU on January 31 and plans to negotiate a trade deal with the bloc by the end of the year.

During this morning’s Brexit questions in the Commons Sir John said: “In celebration of this important occasion in our nation’s history, I wonder if (Mr Barclay) would arrange for Union flags to be flown from all public buildings across our kingdom.”

The former minister continued: “That would be a fitting tribute to the decision the British people made to leave the European Union, and we will remain unafraid of our patriotism, unabashed about the departure, and unwavering in our determination to make our future even greater.”

Mr Barclay replied: “I know my parliamentary neighbour, like me, always takes pride in seeing our Union Jack flown, and any occasion to do so is one that I think he and I would always celebrate.”

The SNP’s Patrick Grady also questioned whether ministers planned to mark the departure by requesting the chiming of Big Ben.

Mr Grady argued that for many the exit will not be a “moment of celebration” but instead one of “considerable concern” and therefore said the government should consider “for whom the bell will toll”.

Mr Barclay replied: “As he will know, a decision as to whether Big Ben should bong or not is a question for the House authorities, and I won't dare to step into such terrain.”

But he added that the moment would be “historic” and “many members of the House will wish to celebrate it”.

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