A Labour mayor has sparked fury by taking down 18 Union Flags that were raised in a Cornish town to celebrate
The ‘unauthorised’ flags were hoisted on flagpoles along Penzance’s promenade on January 1, shortly after the UK left the EU.
One of the men who claims to be responsible said that the act was aimed at uniting the community rather than causing any division.
But within 24 hours, the flags had already been removed, leaving the poles empty.
Nicole Broadhurst, the town’s Labour mayor, said the red white and blue standards had not been authorised by Penzance councillors or Cornwall Council, which owns the flagpoles.
Hundreds have now signed a petition calling for Ms Broadhurst, who works as a community coordinator for a local wildlife trust, to be removed from her ceremonial role.
A local council has taken down 18 Union Flags which after they appeared in a Cornwall town to mark UK leaving the European Union on New Year’s Eve
Another petition has been launched which calls for the flags to be reinstated, and has attracted over 500 signatures.
Derek Thomas, the Conservative MP for St Ives which covers the town, said that he had no problem with the flags.
One man has come forward, claiming to have raised the flags in an attempt to ‘unite us as a nation’.
Wishing to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisals, he said: ‘I put the Union Jack flags up to help celebrate Great Britain finally gaining its independence from the European Union.
Nicole Broadhurst, the Labour Mayor of Penzance, said the fluttering red white and blue standards were not authorised by Penzance Town Council or the flagpoles’ owner, Cornwall Council
‘I am a proud Cornishman and I am proud to be British. I have seen so many comments since the flags went up from so-called proud Cornish men/women who feel no bond to Great Britain but for some odd reason would feel proud to be a member of the European Union.
‘The majority voted for British independence and the outcome should be respected and celebrated.
‘It is clear that the vast majority of people who live in Penwith were very proud to see the Union Jack flags flying again.
Hundreds have now signed a petition calling for Ms Broadhurst, who works as a community coordinator for a local wildlife trust, to be removed from her ceremonial role
‘There are so many old photographs of Penzance flying Union Jack flags with pride and I truly don’t understand why anyone would feel anything but pride.
‘It is clear that Great Britain are wonderful islands with the amount of people who want to come here. It is sad that I felt the need to purchase the flags out of my own pocket and put them up but I have a strong feeling those who should’ve put the Union Jack flags up wouldn’t.
‘I also have a strong feeling that if we voted remain in the EU then we would’ve seen EU flags flying high over our bay. I could be wrong.
‘One thing I wish to make clear again is that I did not put these flags up to create more divide, it was done to try to unite us as a nation again.’
But Ms Broadhurst said the politics of the flag had nothing to do with the decision to remove, blasting the unnamed flag flyers for not getting permission.
‘Our Union flag is not offensive – it represents the whole of the United Kingdom,’ she wrote on social media.
‘The only issue here is that the flags were put up without any consultation or permission and so they do have to come down.
‘The fact that they are the Union Flag has nothing to do with this point. If they were Peppa Pig flags or St Piran flags or EU flags they would still have to come down if no permission had been given for them to be put up.
A number of petitions have been since launched including one which calls for the flags to be reinstated, and another against Mayor Broadhurst
‘Any flag flown from the poles on the Prom need to have been given permission from the owners of the poles – in this case that is Cornwall Council.’
Penzance Town Council and Cornwall Council have been contacted for comment.
The man accepted that he had not obeyed protocols in putting up the standard, but reaction from the public had been overwhelmingly positive.
‘I was very sad so see the flags come down in the dark of night, this was obviously done at this time of the day because the council knew the public walking across our promenade would object,’ he added.
‘I appreciate that things like this should have a protocol to follow and I sympathise for anyone who had to take them down, I’m pretty sure they got no pleasure in doing so.
‘I think it could’ve been handled better by those who made the decision to remove the flags as it was very clear that the vast majority of people of Penwith was proud to see the flags flying.
‘I am aware that a petition has been created to try to get the Union Jack flags back up with alternate St Piran flags that would be a permanent feature unless a special occasion, I believe this would look amazing and please everyone.’