British embassies banned from flying the rainbow flag
British embassies were banned from flying the international "gay flag" around the world after ambassadors sparked furious protests by displaying the emblem at their buildings.
Worried Foreign Office (FO) bosses imposed the veto after noting that flying the rainbow flag "opens up too many potentially difficult and divisive questions", confidential documents have revealed.
At least three British ambassadors – in Latvia, Poland and Brazil – won praise from the gay community by agreeing to fly the flag to mark gay pride marches in 2008. But, following local protests, the FO sent a confidential "eGram" to embassies, saying that the decision was a precedent which could bring troublesome repercussions.
The message, obtained by The Independent on Sunday, revealed the FO had "considered very carefully" whether to amend its flag-flying policy, but concluded that "we should continue to restrict flag-flying... to national flags, as currently set out in guidance".
It adds: "Flying other flags opens up too many potentially difficult and divisive questions." But ambassadors were told "it would be entirely appropriate to send a message of support".
David Cameron has placed heavy emphasis on his support for gay rights. At the Tory conference earlier this month, delegates applauded as the PM backed gay marriage "because I'm a Conservative".
A ComRes/IoS poll found evidence that public opinion is moving towards a more liberal view, with a majority, 51 per cent, of people agreeing that "same-sex marriage should be legal in the UK", with 34 per cent disagreeing.
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Perez Hilton apologises for publishing Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
Jennifer Lawrence 'nude photo hacker' claims there are hundreds more celebrity images to come
Victoria Justice on naked photo leak: 'Let me nip this in the bud right now – pun intended'
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
Ariana Grande nude photos leak: Pictures are completely fake, say singer's representatives
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
£26000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: SAP Assessor Job T...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: SEN Jobs Available Devon
£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...