Exiting the European Union (Armorial Bearings, Ensigns and Flags)

Part of Rating and Valuation – in the House of Commons at 8:08 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Robinson Gavin Robinson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence) 8:08 pm, 20th March 2019

I said earlier, Mr Deputy Speaker, that the Minister was quickly becoming a considered vexillologist, and you will have understood from what he has been saying that he is gaining a good understanding of the changes and the unique differences in Northern Ireland. I remind him, however, that some of the reasons for those differences relate to our history and to political will in different parts of our local government.

I was Lord Mayor of Belfast at the time of the decision to limit flag flying in Belfast City Hall, and I remember how vexed that situation was. I remember the strife and the division to which the decision led, the difficulties caused to community relations and the emotion that is always associated with the flying of flags. There is one arrangement when City Hall and Parliament buildings fly a flag, but the flying of flags on a Government building or the Royal Courts of Justice, for example, is governed by another provision which draws on the flags order but is contained in a justice order. Does the Minister accept that that leads to concerns and queries about why a flag is flying on two buildings but not on another, which is why we need a uniform approach?