18:21 GMT06 March 2021
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    First Minister Nicola Sturgeon left fellow politicians and members of the public somewhat dumbfounded when she ordered the EU flag to be flown on Scottish government buildings.

    Scottish Conservative MP Andrew Bowie called the decision “odd” given that Scotland is no longer a member of the European Union, following the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc.

    ​The Scottish Government’s 2021 flag flying guidance orders the EU flag to be flown 364 days of the year, while the Union Jack - in contrast - will only be flown once a year to mark Remembrance Sunday.

    The Scottish leader of the Reform UK party, Michelle Ballantyne MSP, said that in her decision Sturgeon “is making Scotland look ridiculous again.”

    Commentators online also expressed concern with what they called “censorship from the Scottish government.”

    In January, Sturgeon confirmed her plans to hold an advisory referendum on independence if her Scottish National party wins a majority in May’s Holyrood elections, with or without London’s consent to the move.

    The vote plan was set out in an 11-point roadmap presented at an internal SNP online assembly on 24 January.

    Some users called the move to have the EU flag flown over government buildings for almost every day of the year a “childish stunt” driven by nationalism and desire for independence.

    ​A spokesman for the Scottish government said that the EU flag “is flown to reflect the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland to remain in Europe, and as a mark of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens who to call Scotland home despite Brexit.”

    The flag flying guidance came amid a row between Sturgeon and her predecessor, Alex Salmond, who claims she misled the Scottish parliament about when she knew of sex assault complaints against him. 

    EU flag, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland
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