A councillor tried to ban Union Flag bunting to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday because visitors might think her small town was the headquarters of the National Front.
Liz Harvey, who sits on Ledbury Town Council, objected to the display by claiming people could be “unnerved” so much red, white and blue bunting.
The Daily Mail reports that she made the claims during a meeting to discuss how the town would celebrate the Queen’s landmark birthday and Armed Forces Day, saying that Irish visitors had complained to her when similar bunting was displayed at a 2012 poetry festival.
“A number of people were really quite unnerved by the red, white and blue. They were perplexed. One asked me if Ledbury is the UK headquarters of the National Front.
“Others wondered if they had walked into a National Front area, as they were used to this sort of thing in Ireland. They were quite unsettled.”
Other councillors were taken aback by Councillor Harvey’s comments, however, and voted in favour of the display.
Councillor Bob Barnes said: “The events are a celebration of the Queen and Great Britain, and the members of the armed forces who fought under the Union flag.”
The town’s mayor, Councillor Annette Crowe, who is herself half Irish, also said: “We are talking about our Queen and country. The bunting should be red, white and blue.”
Councillor Harvey later apologised for her comments, saying: “It was at the end of a long and difficult meeting. I didn’t mean to offend anyone and I’m sorry if offence has been taken.
“If flag bunting is to go up specifically for the Queen’s birthday or First World War events, I would support that wholeheartedly.
“People say I was disrespectful to the war dead, but I didn’t mean any offence. I am patriotic and would wave my flag when the Queen goes by.”
However, local residents have accused her of making the town of laughing stock.
Brian Bellows, a flower seller based in the town, said: “What a ridiculous thing to say. How on earth can the Union flag be viewed as racist?
“Is the councillor honestly suggesting the Queen is racist for flying the flag outside Buckingham Palace?
“She should resign immediately.”