Grantham MP calls on nation to fly the flag for England
The St George’s flag will fly over Number 10 Downing Street for England’s remaining World Cup
matches after Grantham MP Nick Boles called for a show of patriotism in public buildings.
Prime Minister Theresa May made the pledge during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday after Mr Boles launched an online petition to campaign for buildings, including police stations, court houses and town halls, to fly the flag of St George throughout the World Cup tournament.
She told MPs: “No 10 will be flying the England flag on the day of each of England’s matches from now on. We will be encouraging other government departments to do the same.”
Speaking to the Journal afterwards, Mr Boles said: “I am delighted but it is not just 10 Downing Street. I hope that other public buildings across the country will do the same and not because they have been told to but because they feel encouraged to do so. This year’s World Cup seems to have captured a mood.
“Having been disappointed and perhaps disillusioned by previous England teams in both their attitude and performance, this team have really impressed us. England manager Gareth Southgate seems to have instilled a really good spirit in them.
“The public who didn’t expect the England team to do well are now excited and it is a good opportunity for public bodies across the country to show their support.
“In a time when so many things divide us, when it comes to the World Cup, it doesn’t matter who we are, we can all get behind our team.”
Mr Boles would also like to see the flag being flown more after the World Cup finishes on July 15.
He echoed his previous calls to make St George’s Day a Bank Holiday, adding: “I have called for the flag to be flown universally on St George’s Day and for it to be made a public holiday.”
Despite his delight, Mr Boles acknowledges concerns about flying the cross of St George, adding: “I understand that people are worried that the England flag has become a symbol of a far right racist group and don’t want to be seen to be encouraging it. I don’t want to encourage it either but my answer is to reclaim the flag as a symbol of support for the whole country.
“I understand the concerns but we shouldn’t be embarrassed to fly our flag. I am delighted with the campaign - I only wish that other campaigns would catch on so quickly.”
England lost their third and final group match to Belgium yesterday by a single goal, but both teams had already progressed into the next round.
England will play Colombia in the last 16 on Tuesday at 7pm. If they can beat the South Americans they will then play either Sweden or Switzerland in the quarter-finals and many see this as an excellent chance to make it to the semi-finals, something they have not achieved since 1990 when they were beaten by the Germans on penalties.
- You can read more about Mr Boles’ reasons behind the campaign in his column on page 29.
- We would also like to hear about what you think about the campaign? Do you agree with Mr Boles or would you rather his time be used elsewhere? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org