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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 06:19 GMT
Flag colour is azure thing
Girl with flag
The issue has been debated for several years
Politicians have finally nailed their colours to the mast by specifying the precise shade of blue in Scotland's national flag.

The white Cross of St Andrew's should ideally have an azure background - Pantone 300 in the international colour code - to be precise.

The recommendation follows a long-running debate on an issue which has had people in a flap for several years.

MSPs on Holyrood's Education, Culture and Sport Committee stressed they were merely offering advice.

Committee convener Karen Gillon said: "We should not try to restrict the flags that are flown at football or rugby matches, but there is a suggested colour, Pantone 300, and we should accept that is the correct colour.

All I ever asked for was a strong recommendation from parliament that they should recommend Pantone 300 and this is what they have done
George Reid
Flag campaigner
"It is a voluntary code, not a statutory code and people will not have to throw into the bin a flag they've already got," the Labour MSP for Clydesdale added.

Retired accountant George Reid, from Edinburgh, submitted a petition to the Public Petitions Committee in 2000 on the issue.

The Education Committee considered the petition but decided it was not a devolved matter and MSPs were powerless to act.

However, Scotland's heraldic authority, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, suggested it was within Holyrood's powers and Mr Reid petitioned Holyrood a second time.

Mr Reid, 77, was in the parliament to hear the matter agreed on Tuesday.

He said: "I am delighted at the decision. All I have ever asked for was a strong recommendation from parliament that they should recommend Pantone 300 and this is what they have done.

"I hope it's going to be endorsed."

Mr Reid said his petition also urged the flying of the flag and he hoped the publication of a flag-flying code by the St Andrew's Society and the Saltire Society would be further encouragement.

Gil Paterson, Nationalist MSP for central Scotland region, said the recommendation would now go to the Scottish Executive.

He said: "It's a good decision. It has taken a bit longer than I would have thought, but sometimes good decisions take a bit longer."



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