Tory Brexiteers propose flag flying and beer brewing to mark Brexit day

PUBLISHED: 11:26 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:26 09 January 2020

A row of Union flags in a spot usually occupied by EU flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Ted Hennessey/PA.

A row of Union flags in a spot usually occupied by EU flags opposite the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Ted Hennessey/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

Tory Brexiteers are calling for Union flags to be flown from all public buildings on January 31st - and for new beers to brewed to mark the occasion.

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Tory MP Kate Griffiths called for a special Brexit pint to mark the historic moment. In the House of Commons she asked the Brexit secretary to support her proposals.

"Would my right honourable friend agree that to mark us leaving the European Union, our fantastic local breweries in Burton-on-Trent should brew a celebratory Brexit beer?"

Stephen Barclay responded for the government in support of the measure. He said: "Mr Speaker from the reaction of the house my honourable friends strikes an extremely positive note in one of her first contributions.

"I know her constituency is famed for its beer and am sure many members of this house would welcome them celebrating this occasion in such a way, just as I will do myself at the with a fantastic Elgoods brewery, which sits in my own constituency.

Meanwhile former Tory minister Sir John Hayes said it would be a "fitting tribute" to the vote to leave the EU, and to show that Britain is "unafraid of our patriotism" and "unabashed" about its departure.

During Brexit questions in the Commons to Brexit secretary Steve Barclay, he asked: "In celebration of this important occasion in our nation's history, I wonder if (Steve Barclay) would arrange for Union flags to be flown from all public buildings across our kingdom.

"That would be a fitting tribute to the decision the British people made to leave the European Union, and we will remain unafraid of our patriotism, unabashed about the departure, and unwavering in our determination to make our future even greater."

Barclay replied: "I know my parliamentary neighbour, like me, always takes pride in seeing our Union Jack flown, and any occasion to do so is one that I think he and I would always celebrate.

"But I can't be alone, given (Sir John's) penchant for poetry, in thinking perhaps such an occasion may inspire him in due course to write something fitting for such an occasion."

Polish-born MP Daniel Kawczynski supported the calls claiming that there should be a "very public" celebration to send a message to other Eurosceptics across the world.

He said: "The 31st January is not just a significant day for us in the United Kingdom but also for hundreds of millions of Eurosceptics across the continent of Europe that, like us, share concerns about the direction of travel of Europe Union."

"Does he agree with me that it's very, very important we celebrate this day very publicly as a nation to give a guiding principle to others in Europe?"

The SNP's Patrick Grady called on the government to confirm whether ministers will request the chiming of Big Ben at 11pm on January 31.

"It's not going to be a moment of celebration for many people across the UK, it's going to be a moment of considerable concern, not least my constituents who are citizens or nationals of the European Union," he said.

"And perhaps what they should be asking on that side of the House, if they do want to hear the bells chime, is for whom the bell will toll."

Barclay replied: "As he will know, a decision as to whether Big Ben should bong or not is a question for the House authorities, and I won't dare to step into such terrain."

But he said the moment would be "historic" and "many members of the House will wish to celebrate it".

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