Brexiteer's petition to get massive European flag removed from building fails

PUBLISHED: 10:09 23 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:30 23 June 2019

Lee Sibley's supporters are holding the union flag the wrong way around in his petition photograph. Picture: Change.org

Lee Sibley's supporters are holding the union flag the wrong way around in his petition photograph. Picture: Change.org

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A Brexiteer teenager's attempt to get an 'offensive' European flag removed from the Ecotricity headquarters in Stroud has failed after just 1,240 signed his online petition.

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Earlier this year Ecotricity replaced the union flag outside its office in Stroud with a 10-metre tall European flag in protest against Brexit.

Dale Vince said the measure was an "up yours" to politicians that have been trying to drag the United Kingdom out of the European Union, and that have been distracted British politics from the issue of climate change.

The move - which saw a green union flag replaced with a blue and yellow European flag - has been praised by Remainers after Ecotricity posted a video about it on social media.

But the move has upset Brexiteers in the local area who have branded it "absolutely disgugusting", "offensive" and an "eyesore".

Lee Sibley, a 16-year-old from Gloucestershire, said Leave voters in the area felt "uncomfortable" seeing the flag, so he launched an online petition.

He wrote on his Change.org petition: "If I were to fly the Union Jack or the England flag I would be told to remove it.

"So my question is why are you letting this flag which does not represent myself or Stroud!

"I love going to Stroud and this beautiful constituency but this flag is offensive, disrespectful and very daunting. Makes me feel unwelcome and sad."

Speaking to The New European he defended the petition saying that the use of the flag was "bad for business" and "daunting" for those visiting Stroud.

As a Eurosceptic local he said he felt "very unwelcome, uncomfortable and sad."

He continued: "A lot of veterans have also said to me that they find it a matter of disrespect as well.

"The sooner we have Brexit the sooner the divisions will disappear. We shouldn't be petty we should be glad we can have freedom and trade with the rest of the countries outside the EU."

Stroud District Council appeared to disagree with Sibley's petition, with interim head of legal and monitoring officer Patrick Arran saying it would not take action.

He said: "The council has no power to do what you are asking because no law has been broken."

Speaking in April as the flag was erected, owner Dale Vince said: "Europe has been a force of incredible good at home, and around the world - probably the most progressive collection of states anywhere in the world.

"We're not afraid to say this, and never should be.

"We are Europeans and that's something to be proud of."

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