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Flag rules questioned after ‘grave error’

Grave error of judgement: The Palestinian flag flying at Preston Town Hall last month

Grave error of judgement: The Palestinian flag flying at Preston Town Hall last month

The rules around flag flying at Preston Town Hall could be changed following a “grave error of judgement” in deciding to fly the Palestinian flag.

The flag was flown last month in solidarity with the people of Palestine, despite the council issuing a statement saying it would not be flown after a raft of complaints.

Now city representatives have called for a review of the council’s protocol around flag flying, to avoid similar situations in the future.

Coun Julie Buttle, deputy leader of Preston Council’s Conservative group, has submitted a notice of motion to next week’s full council, calling for a cross-party discussion to take place before similar decisions are made.

She said: “We are not saying we have all got to sit down and have a meeting. All we are saying is, where a decision needs to be made, there should be something in there that allows us to put the alternative view in.”

The notice of motion, to be discussed next Thursday, says: “This council is concerned that an executive member made a grave error of judgement by deciding to publicly support one side of an emotive and difficult conflict, by flying a national flag. The magnitude of that error was reflected by the public outcry and scuffles which broke out outside the Town Hall and the embarrassing reversal of the decision - all of which was reported by the national media.”

It says decisions are often made at short notice and call in procedures only apply retrospectively, and it is “wrong” that one person can make a decision that could cause “immeasurable tension and unrest in the city”.

It says: “This council therefore resolves that the flag flying policy is amended to state, other than the flags listed in the policy, no other national flag is flown at the Town Hall and a cross party discussion should take place prior to the decision to fly any flag being made.”

 

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