Saturday 24th September 2005
Fly the European flag? EU can't do that...
by Dan King
A COUNCIL has been forced to take down a flag outside its headquarters - after learning that it was illegal.
And now councillors in Wear Valley face the embarrassment of meeting to decide whether they can grant permission for the European Union flag to be returned.
The council has had the flag on display for several years at its Crook Civic Centre base in County Durham, but yesterday replaced it with a St George's cross after the error was flagged up.
Local crusader Jim Tague made a request under the Freedom of Information Act as to whether the council had the correct permission.
Government rules state that, although national flags can be displayed, flags for political projects can not, due to laws on spending taxpayers' money to promote one side of a debate above another.
Mr Tague said: "My question was, prove to me that the EU is a nation state, or produce the planning documents. They could do neither.
"They will have to very careful about putting it back up.
"I don't think you'll find one Englishman in this country who wants the EU flag to be flown ahead of our own."
Anti-European campaigner Neil Herron, from Sunderland, said it was a victory for campaigners opposed to European constitution and said it would set a precedent.
He said: "It isn't a flag of a nation state - it is the flag of a political project. I object to the flying of an advertisement for an unaccountable, corrupt body."
A spokesman for Wear Valley District Council said: "We are looking to get it put back up again - with the appropriate permission."
Saturday, September 24, 2005
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