Nicola Sturgeon accuses senior Tories of ‘fake news’ in furious row over Union Flag

Posted On: 
24th January 2018

Nicola Sturgeon has accused senior Conservative politicians of ‘peddling fake news' amid a row over reports that the Union Flag will no longer be flown over dozens of buildings in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon hit back at reports that she had limited the number of days the Union Flag could be flown from government buildings
PA Images

The outburst follows newspaper claims that her government issued guidance to reduce the number of days the UK flag was flown from official buildings to just Remembrance Sunday.

It was previously raised alongside the Saltire to mark royal birthdays and anniversaries - but now the Saltire will fly alone.

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However the First Minister insisted the move to stop Britain’s flag from flying alongside Scotland’s on such occasions was first brought in in 2010 and that recent changes were part of updating guidance.

In a series of angry tweets, she hit back at Ruth Davidson’s message that the Nationalists should be “raising standards, not lowering flags” by adding that Theresa May’s ‘fake news unit’ should get her “own politicians to stop peddling it”.

Other senior Conservative figures including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Ian Duncan Smith and Andrew Bridgen had earlier attacked Ms Sturgeon's administration in the Daily Telegraph - accusing the SNP of "small mindedness" and attempts to "sow division".

And in a swing at the media, Ms Sturgeon used a Twitter thread to accuse reporters of failing to tell the truth on the issue, something she said was part of a “much bigger problem”.

Her predecessor Alex Salmond - who brought in the policy - today insisted the move came after consulting with the Queen and dismissed the latest reports as “a load of complete piffle”.

Weighing in on the row through a statement on his website, he said: “The hoisting of The Lion Rampant had nothing whatsoever to do with Nicola Sturgeon. 

“I changed the policy on flag flying back in 2010 after an audience with Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral the previous year.

“It seemed obvious to me that the appropriate flag to be flown on the occasion of royal birthdays is the Royal Standard or The Lion Rampant. The only people who can order that to be done are the Queen herself and the First Minister as her representative.”

Mr Salmond said the Queen had asked him if the Lion Rampant flag was “popular”, to which he responded it was “much beloved” by supporters of national sports teams, before the policy was brought in.

And in a swipe at journalists and Tory politicians, he added: “Why is it being questioned by these ridiculous newspapers and political ignoramuses. In any case why do they resent the flying of The Lion Rampant?

“One has to ask are they harbouring closet republican tendencies that they object to the Scottish Royal Standard being flown high and proud?”