Nicola Sturgeon has received an apology from the Scottish Daily Mail after it published an article claiming she had “decreed” the Union flag should not be flown to mark royal events.
The 24 January article accused the First Minister of Scotland of banning the Union flag from flying above dozens of public buildings for occasions including the Queen’s birthday.
Sturgeon, who had told Tory MPs to “stop peddling fake news” over the matter, tweeted the apology herself describing it as a “ridiculous story”.
It said: “We are happy to clarify that the decision to change the policy on flag flying was taken and implemented by former First Minister Alex Salmond in 2010. The Protocol and Honours Team updated operational guidance in December 2017. We accept that the policy did not change under Nicola Sturgeon and that she had no involvement in the Protocol and Honours Team updating the operational guidance.
“We apologise to Ms Sturgeon for the contrary impression given.”
Salmond himself described the reports, which also ran in the Telegraph, as “complete piffle.” He tweeted: “The hoisting of Lion Rampant had nothing whatsoever to do with Nicola Sturgeon. I changed the policy on flag flying back in 2010 after an audience with Her Majesty the Queen at Balmoral the previous year.”
The confusion seems to have arisen as published civil service guidance has only recently been amended to reflect the change.