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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Flag row divides council
George's Cross
The flag will only be flown on St George's Day

A decision to block a move to permanently fly the St George's Cross from a Warwickshire town hall is being criticised by Tory councillor.

Rugby Borough Council rejected a proposal to fly the flag year-round amid fears that it might send out the "wrong messages".

David Wright said he was "disgusted" that the proposal had been rejected by 27 votes to 16 by the authority, amid fears that the English flag is associated with racism and the extremist British National Party.

Mr Wright, who is the Conservative represents for the Bilton ward, said he would lodge another notice of motion urging the council to reconsider the decision.

Government protocol

He said: "A variety of reasons have been given for not flying the flag, not least the race issue.

"To my mind they have missed the point. This has nothing to do with race.

"It's to do with the fact that we are in the centre of England and wanted to restore a bit of pride in the country."

It's inappropriate to fly flags apart from on flag days
Councillor Alan Webb
Mr Wright said he had yet to meet a single member of the public of any race who opposed the defeated plans, which called for permanent flying of the English flag to recognise the town hall's status as a public building.

The leader of the council's Labour group, who opposed the motion, said many councillors were happy with the status quo of flying the Union Flag on significant dates and the English standard on St George's Day.

Others councillors felt the proposed change could have sent out "the wrong messages".

Councillor Alan Webb said the authority was currently following government protocol on the issue.

He added: "It's inappropriate to fly flags apart from on flag days, otherwise you devalue them."




SEE ALSO:
Football urged to fly the flag
24 Jul 03  |  UK News
St George comes under fire
21 Apr 02  |  England
Political row over flag flying
09 Oct 01  |  Scotland


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