Stephen Cowan says PM has misled Parliament on the matter
The EU flag and the Union flag flying above Hammersmith Town Hall. Picture: Stephen Cowan/Twitter
The leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council has accused the Prime Minister of lying about the price of EU flags flying in the borough. Hammersmith and
Stephen Cowan has written to Boris Johnson about his “misleading comments” during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday after he said Hammersmith council had spent £27,000 to display the European flag on the borough’s streets since the 2016 EU referendum.
The Prime Minister said, “Let me tell you something, Mr Speaker, [Sir Keir] talks about the elections in a few days' time. Let me remind him that everywhere you look at Labour administrations, it is a bankrupt shambles.
“Labour-run Hammersmith spent £27,000 on EU flags after the referendum. Labour-run Nottingham council bankrupt because of some communist energy plan.”
But the local Labour party hit back saying the council has long flown the European Flag outside the Town Hall, adding that it had spent just £3,200 replacing flags since the referendum. Stephen Cowan said to the PM, “I am sorry to have to write to you about misleading Parliament but your comments today at Prime Minister’s Questions were not accurate or truthful…
“Hammersmith & Fulham Council has long flown the European Flag outside the Town Hall. It flies alongside the Cross of St. George, the Union Flag and others at times – currently we are flying the Flag of Ukraine. Each flag cost £320. Flags are replaced when they become worn out. I understand we are on our tenth European Flag since the referendum. We have not spent £27,000 as you told Parliament.
“I make no apology for demonstrating a warm welcome to all our residents no matter from where they originate. That has been especially important for EU citizens since the referendum – not least because of the initially huge increase in recorded hate crimes.”
The council leader added, ”Flying the European Flag was just one of the many initiatives we took to underline our support for our European residents. Another of those was advertising the government’s EU Settlement Scheme – a campaign that told EU citizens ‘Home is where your heart is, we’d love you to stay‘ and provided a link to the support that would help them do that. The advertising banners cost £27,000 but were paid for by the government. That may be the basis of your confusion.”
Stephen Cowan added that the Labour-run council has cut £122 million in wasteful council spending since they came into power in 2014.
Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter
April 28, 2022