NEWS
24/01/2018 13:15 GMT | Updated 24/01/2018 15:29 GMT

Nicola Sturgeon Hits Back At Tories Over 'Fake News' SNP Flag Controversy

'Memo to PM's new 'fake news' unit.'

Nicola Sturgeon has told Tory MPs to “stop peddling fake news” after a number expressed outrage over reports she had “eradicated” the Union Jack from Scottish Government buildings.

Newspapers, including the Telegraph and the Scottish Daily Mail, ran front-page stories on Wednesday claiming the SNP leader had ordered the move in time for the Queen’s birthday.

The Telegraph claimed the SNP had demanded the Union Jack should only be displayed on Remembrance Sunday meaning “the flag will fly on just one day a year rather than the 15 times it was hoisted last year”.

It also made a point of comparing this to the “rainbow gay pride flag, which is scheduled to be flown four times to commemorate a range of LGBT events”.

Several Tory MPs were quoted expressing outrage at the reports.

The SNP lost the referendum and they seem to be forgetting this crucial point. Jacob Rees-Mogg
It is insulting to Scottish people to pretend that somehow Scotland is not within the UK. Iain Duncan Smith
The SNP clearly thinks they won the Scottish referendum and therefore can remove the Union flag when they should be removing the European Union flag. Andrew Bridgen

Sturgeon and her predecessor, Alex Salmond, on Wednesday hit back at the allegations, branding them “nonsense” and “piffle”.

The guidelines quoted in the articles as being ‘new’ had in fact been in place since 2010, they said. 

The confusion seems to have arisen as published civil service guidance has only recently been amended to reflect the change.

This was lost on a number of Twitter users as well as Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson.

Sturgeon, referencing Theresa May’s recent announcement of a special unit to tackle fake news, wasn’t standing for it.

The British Government’s new unit will counter disinformation and “fake news” pushed by foreign powers

May has previously accused Russia of meddling in elections and its state media of planting fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to undermine western institutions.

Russia denies interfering in foreign elections, including the 2016 Brexit referendum, and the US presidential race in the same year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the new national security communications unit would build on existing capabilities and would be tasked with “combating disinformation by state actors and others”.