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Love the flag and the Queen or ‘move to another country’, Conservative MP tells the public

‘If people are not proud to be British, or of our flag or Queen, they don’t have to live in the UK’

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Friday 19 March 2021 13:27 GMT
Charlie Stayt mocks size of Robert Jenrick's Union Jack flag

A Conservative MP has suggested people should leave the country if they do not feel pride in “our flag or Queen”.

Lia Nici spoke out amid controversy and ridicule over more and more politicians displaying huge flags in the background during TV interviews.

Robert Jenrick, the local government secretary, provoked laughter on the BBC over the floor-to-ceiling Union flag placed for viewers to see – triggering an angry response from many Tories.

Ms Nici, the Grimsby MP, went further, tweeting: “Of course if people are not proud to be British, or of our flag or Queen, they don’t have to live in the UK. Perhaps they should move to another country they prefer.”

Another Conservative, Bracknell’s James Sutherland, said, of the amused reaction of presenters on BBC Breakfast: “Yet more smirking nonsense from the increasingly out of touch BBC.

“This odious behaviour needs to be cut out of our national broadcaster before it loses even more viewers.”

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The comments come as the government steps up what has been called “a culture war”, including by pledging to save the statues of historical figures with links to the slave trade.

The tactics are seen as an attempt to retain the support of Labour switchers in ‘Red Wall’ seats’, by provoking Keir Starmer’s party into a response.

The Labour leader stepped back from criticising Buckingham Palace over Meghan Markle’s allegations, amid polling suggesting voters – especially older voters – were siding with the Queen.

When criticised for her comment on Twitter, Ms Nici added: “Being proud of the country we live in isn’t about nostalgia, it’s about believing in what we can achieve now and in the future.”

On Thursday, the BBC presenters Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt mocked Mr Jenrick’s huge flag, with a picture of the Queen also visible behind the Cabinet minister.

“I think your flag is not up to standard size, government interview measurements,” Mr Stayt said, as he ended the interview.

“I think it’s just a little bit small, but that’s your department really. It’s just a thought.” Mr Jenrick, who was speaking via video call from Westminster, did not respond.

Ms Munchetty was seen attempting to stifle her laugher, then she said: “There’s always a flag. They had the picture of the Queen though. In the Westminster office I am assuming.”

The presenter later apologised for liking a series of tweets that referenced their interview and the flag.

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