Parliament has been flying the union flag upside down - a symbol of distress

PUBLISHED: 12:26 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:59 06 March 2020

A worker removes Union flags from flagpoles in Parliament Square, London, following events to mark the UK's departure from the European Union on January 31st. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

A worker removes Union flags from flagpoles in Parliament Square, London, following events to mark the UK's departure from the European Union on January 31st. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The Houses of Parliament have been flying the union flag upside down, it has been claimed.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg described the reports as "deeply troubling" after Conservative MP Robert Courts suggested that it had been that way for "some time".

He said: "I wouldn't want to be seen to be too much of a stickler for these things, but... the Union Jack above Portcullis House has been flying upside down for some time now.

"This could be a mistake. I doubt that the building has surrendered to anybody, but could we have the debate in government time as to whether in fact the building is in distress or whether its the MPs within it that are in distress?"

Leader of the House, Rees-Mogg, said "This is a deeply troubling matter that the Union Jack should be flying upside down."


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Responding to heckles from the Opposition benches suggesting that it should in fact be referred to as the 'Union flag', Rees Mogg said: "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. The pedants are wrong, it is the Union Jack and has been referred to for many centuries.

"There is this pedantic but erroneous view that it should be called the Union flag and it is used by people who are more pedantic than they are wise."

He added: "I'm sorry that this has happened, I'm glad it's been brought to the attention of the House authorities, I imagine that someone is, as we are speaking, going to correct this because I see the clerk of the House of Commons is taking action immediately and things do sometimes happen swiftly and I assure you that members of Parliament are not in distress."

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