Devon councils divided over flying the flag for Duke of York's birthday

By [email protected]   |   reporter   |
Saturday 8th February 2020 11:00 am
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COUNCILS in Devon are divided as to whether they will follow an order to fly the Union flag on the Duke of York’s birthday.

Local authorities have been told to fly the flag for Andrew’s 60th birthday on February 19.

Matt Stevenson, private secretary to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government permanent secretary Dame Melanie Dawes, reminded the councils in an email that has been seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Critics said that the order should be scrapped because of allegations made againstPrince Andrew.

Andrew, who strenuously denies the allegations, is facing calls to talk to the FBI and US prosecutors.

The Union Jack will be flown outside Exeter and Torbay’s civic buildings, but spokesman for those two councils said this was because it is flown permanently.

Torridge and Mid Devon councils have confirmed they will be flying the flag, but North Devon have said that they won’t be.

South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council said they had not been given any directive to fly the flag.

A North Devon Council spokesman said: “We have now been advised that, because Prince Andrew is no longer a working member of the Royal Family, we are not being asked to fly the flag on his birthday. As such, we won’t be.”

A spokesperson for Torbay Council said: “The Union Flag is flown all year round on Torquay Town Hall, so it will be flying on Wednesday 19 February.”

An Exeter City Council spokesman said: “The Union Flag is permanently flown from outside the Civic Centre and the Guildhall.”

A spokesman for South Hams and West Devon council’s said: “Having chatted to a number of colleagues, no one has been given a directive to do this.”

A spokesman for Mid Devon District Council said: “Our Member Services team have confirmed that we intend to fly the Union Jack on February 19 as per the edict from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and our normal protocol for senior members of the royal family.”

A spokesman for Torridge District Council said that they would be auctioning the request.

Teignbridge District Council and Devon County Council did not reply to the request for comment, while East Devon District Council initially said that they hadn’t been asked to fly the flag, then said new information had been received, but did not reply any further.

Andrew stepped down from royal public life in November after the fallout from his disastrous Newsnight appearance.

He was accused of showing a lack of empathy for Epstein’s victims and of failing to show regret over his friendship with the disgraced financier.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said: “This was an administrative email about a long-standing policy.

“I understand DCMS and the royal household considering how the policy applies to members of the royal family who have stepped back from public duties.”

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