European flag to be taken down at Holyrood after Brexit

Presiding officer Ken Macintosh said the flag will come down at 11pm on January 31, when the UK leaves the EU.

Holyrood: EU flag to come down after January 31.
Holyrood: EU flag to come down after January 31.

The European Union flag will no longer be flown daily over the Scottish Parliament after Brexit happens at the end of the month.

Holyrood’s presiding officer Ken Macintosh wrote to MSPs that the flag, which currently flies alongside the Saltire and Union Jack over the building, will be taken down at 11pm on January 31.

At this time, the UK is set to formally leave the EU, although it will then be in a standstill transition arrangement with Brussels until the end of 2020.

The decision was made by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) on Thursday, which is made up of Macintosh and representatives from Holyrood’s five parties.

But the SPCB also agreed to fly the flag of the Council of Europe on Europe Day, which this year falls on May 9 “a mark of our continued ties” with the EU.

The presiding officer wrote: “Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the SPCB agreed at its meeting this morning that from 11pm on January 31, the Scottish Parliament will no longer fly the EU flag on a daily basis. 

“The SPCB decided that on Europe Day we shall fly the Council of Europe flag as a mark of our continued ties with that body and that our flag-flying policy should be amended to reflect these decisions.”

SNP MSP and former Europe minister Alasdair Allan had been campaigning to keep the flag flying “in line with the democratic decisions of Scotland’s voters and MSPs to remain in the EU”, but his call was dismissed by the body.