Commonwealth Games 2014: MoD refuses request to let Red Arrows use Scottish colours

 

A request by the producers of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony that the Red Arrows trail the colours of the Scottish Saltire in the Glasgow sky to mark the Queen’s arrival at the event was rejected by Whitehall, it has emerged.

The Ministry of Defence insisted it would never allow that the world-famous RAF aerobatic display team to perform in anything other than its celebrated red, white and blue of the Union Flag saying it was a “UK military asset that was there to welcome the Queen”.

It emerged that the show’s producers had held discussions with the Red Arrows in which the question of altering the smoke trail to represent the host nation’s flag was discussed.

But a Glasgow 2014 spokeswoman said no formal request had been made. MoD sources rejected reports that it had been new Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon that had personally intervened to rule out the change of colours. A spokesman said: “The Red Arrows are ambassadors for the UK and fly with red white and blue.”

The change in plan was revealed by a note in the programme for the ceremony which said the flyby would be in Scots colours. However, this had been changed with a printed addendum handed out to journalists prior to the event at Celtic Park.

Despite its reputation as a bastion of Irish nationalism in the city which remains scarred with sectarian tensions, the Queen was greeted with a standing ovation and a rousing rendition of the British national anthem when she arrived at the football ground on Tuesday night.

The spat over the flypast, one of the highlights of a ceremony which was watched by nearly nine million viewers in the UK, threatened to plunge the Games into its first controversy over independence.

First Minister Alex Salmond was criticised this week for breaking his promise not to discuss politics during the Games by claiming Glasgow would vote to split for the rest of the UK in September.

There has been an uneasy truce in campaigning in the immediate run up to the 11-day event. Prime Minister David Cameron was among politicians to pay a visit to the venues yesterday.

A source close to Mr Salmond said it was "absolutely, categorically, 100 per cent not the case" that anyone in the Scottish Government asked for the colours of the Saltire to be used.

The hawk jets of the aerobatic team are based at RAF Scrampton in Lincolnshire. It counts supporting British industry and showcasing the skills of the RAF among its roles.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 said:  “We were delighted with the participation of the Red Arrows who deployed their standard trail of red, white and blue in last night’s ceremony.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Glasgow 2014, as organisers of the Games, independently contract a private company to organise and stage the opening and closing ceremonies. An approach was made by them to the MOD to explore whether it would be possible to have blue and white smoke in recognition of Scotland as the host Commonwealth nation. We believe that ultimately the UK Government did not want to proceed with this suggestion.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
Sport
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all