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

Part of Rating and Valuation – in the House of Commons at 8:24 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 8:24 pm, 20th March 2019

I am delighted that both sides of the House are willing to support this motion, which is very helpful. It is always better for things that tread on contentious ground to be broadly and widely supported, so I thank everyone for that.

I join the shadow Minister, and I am sure everyone, in expressing sympathy for the victims in Cookstown—he is right to raise it. I welcome him back to the Dispatch Box. With his crutch, he turned up limping but determined to make sure he is here representing his party’s viewpoint, which is always good to see. He also gets points for a neologism, at least I think it is a neologism. I have certainly never heard of vexillomaniacs, which is a brand-new word for me at least.

I am sure my hon. Friend Dr Murrison, the Chair of the Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, is right to make a plea for tolerance and being laid back, if we possibly can, both on flag flying and on symbols more generally.

There is a second Europe Day that is not 9 May but 5 May, which is the Council of Europe’s Europe Day rather than the EU’s Europe Day. It is quite possible that some people might decide to fly a European flag on those days, and I am sure in many cases others will be entirely tolerant, but it is outwith the scope of this measure. I am delighted to record that everyone seems to be in agreement and onside.

Question put and agreed to.