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Preston Palestinian flag flying: Council to be asked to amend Town Hall flag policy

Posted on - 14th August, 2014 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council
The Palestinian Flag flying above the Town Hall entrance on Friday 25 July

The Palestinian Flag flying above the Town Hall entrance on Friday 25 July

A Conservative councillor is to call for Preston’s flag flying rules to change.

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In the wake of the decision to fly the Palestinian flag for a brief period above the Town Hall a motion has been tabled to amend the council’s policy.

The current policy allows an executive member to make a decision to fly different flags, but Lea and Cottam councillor Julie Buttle has applied to change the rules.

Her motion states:

“Preston City Council is an inclusive organisation representing all the people of Preston.

“This Council is concerned that an executive member made a grave error of judgement by deciding to publicly support one side of an emotive and difficult
conflict, by flying a national flag.

“The magnitude of that error was reflected by the public outcry and scuffles which broke out outside the Town Hall and the embarrassing reversal of the decision – all of which was reported by the national media.

“It is accepted that some circumstances dictate that the decision to fly a flag is made at short notice and as a result, call in procedures only apply retrospectively to the flag being flown.

“Given that the flag reflects on Preston and this Council as a whole, it is considered wrong that one individual is able to make a decision which could cause immeasurable tension and unrest in the City.

“This Council therefore resolves that the Flag Flying Policy is amended to state, other than the flags listed in the Policy, no other national flag is flown at the Town Hall and a cross party discussion should take place prior to the decision to fly any flag being
made.”

Confusion surrounded the events three weeks ago when the city council put out an announcement saying the Palestinian flag would be flown.

A second notice then went out saying it would not be flown, before eventually it was flown for a short period of time during a rally organised by charity Children of the Ghetto.

The move put Preston in a small number of council’s in the UK to make the public gesture of support for Palestine.

Calls for the resignation of cabinet member Robert Boswell, who made the decision, and council leader Peter Rankin who backed it, have been met with strong rebuttals from the Labour group.

The motion will go the meeting of the full council on Thursday 14 August from 2pm.

What do you think? Should the flag flying policy change? Let us know in the comments below

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