Nicola Sturgeon has issued a furious rebuttal of claims in the Daily Telegraph and Scottish Daily Mail that she has banned all Scottish government buildings from flying the union jack, save for Remembrance Day and armed forces day.
Alongside a dispute on Twitter with the radio journalist Iain Dale, the first minister issued a detailed and categorical denial of the claims, insisting a decision to use the lion rampant rather than the union jack on royal occasions was taken eight years ago, and she had no part in it. In Scotland, the lion rampant is used as an alternative royal standard.
The papers reported that the union flag would no longer be flown on 14 of the 15 royal and ceremonial dates it had previously be used for. Sturgeon’s officials said this had only been spotted this month because civil servants very belatedly updated the Scottish government’s website to reflect a policy change from 2010.
The Telegraph quoted Iain Duncan Smith asserting it was an “outrageous” decision: “It is insulting to Scottish people to pretend somehow Scotland is not within the UK … [it] is a tawdry attempt to sow more division” between nationalists and unionists,” he said.
Sturgeon was backed up by her predecessor Alex Salmond, who described the claims about her as “a load of complete piffle” on his…