UK government ministers in gay flag row

The rainbow flag above the Cabinet Office in London on Monday (Pic: Twitter)

The rainbow flag above the Cabinet Office in London on Monday (Pic: Twitter)

Ministers in the British government are at odds over flying the rainbow flag after it was banned from embassies and the Foreign Office last week.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who voted against legalising same-sex marriage, ordered the flag, representing LGBT equality, to no longer be flown from British embassies around the world during Pride events.

A spokesman said that the Union Jack must never be “substituted for another flag.”

Last year, Foreign Secretary William Hague allowed the raising of the gay flag in support of the LGBT community, especially in Commonwealth countries where LGBT people are oppressed.

On Monday, however, Cabinet Office Minister Matthew Hancock appeared to snub Hammond’s stance. He confirmed that the rainbow flag would at least be flown at government offices in London ahead of this weekend’s London Pride.

In a tweet, he posted a picture of the flag above the Cabinet Office, commenting: “Proud to be flying the rainbow flag for Pride over the Cabinet Office today.”

A spokesman for LGBT rights group Stonewall said it hoped that the Foreign Secretary’s decision with regard to embassies will be reconsidered.

“It’s hugely disappointing that British embassies have been banned from flying the rainbow flag this summer. Pride events celebrate and recognise the diverse LGBT community, and flying the flag demonstrates a commitment to supporting this community,” the organisation commented.

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