“Sturgeon replaces Union Jack … it is to be replaced – of course – by the EU flag” – Guido Fawkes blog, 18 February 2021


Guido is primarily an entertainment site. The Scottish Government has not changed existing flag protocols. The Union flag is not being “replaced” and will continue to fly at official occasions such as Remembrance Sunday. However, the Scottish Government will continue to fly the EU flag as a salute to the quarter of a million European citizens who live and work here.


The Guido Fawkes self-styled “infotainment” blog was started in 2004 by Paul Staines, a right-wing, pro-Brexit "libertarian" who holds UK and Irish (EU) passports. He is a former stockbroker and trader who went bankrupt in 2003. Born in London, Staines now lives in Ireland.

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The blog is named after Guido (Guy) Fawkes who Staines refers to as the “only man to enter Parliament with honest intentions”. According to the current Guido Fawkes website: “The primary motivation for the creation of the site was purely to make mischief at the expense of politicians and for the founding author’s own self-gratification."

Today the blog is produced by a large, paid staff. Recently Guido announced that one of its key writers, Tom Harwood, was leaving to join Andrew Neil’s new GB News channel as its Westminster correspondent. Guido is hosted in the United States and edited by someone “who is not a UK resident”.

In Guido’s “about” section, it claims: “We don’t believe in objective impartiality nor pretend to”. It goes on: “Readers come here for tittle-tattle, rumour and gossip. Sure, Guido sometimes campaigns on serious political issues we think are important, we never forget we’re in the infotainment business."


On February 18, Guido published the following “story” under a picture of the FM: “Nicola Sturgeon’s war with reality continues in earnest this week, as the First Minister has instructed that the Union Jack should now only be flown from government buildings on Remembrance Sunday. For the remaining 364 days of the year, it is to be replaced – of course – by the EU flag.”

The Scottish Government issues an annual protocol regarding what flags should fly over public buildings. Mainly this guidance covers days associated with specific commemorations. These include Royal birthdays and anniversaries, Remembrance Day, Armed Forces Day, St Andrew's Day, and particular “international days” such as the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

The National:

Detailed advice is given over relevant dates and is based on the number of flagpoles available at each building. On most Royal occasions, the Royal Banner (with the Lion of Scotland) takes precedence. It has been normal always to fly the Saltire where two or more flag poles are available. Where only one pole exists, precedence goes to the relevant flag depending on the celebration, e.g. the Union Flag on Remembrance Day.

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The Scottish Government has now issued new guidance for 2021. Normally this updating is a civil service affair based on previous protocols. No changes for official flag days have been introduced. For instance, there is no change to the protocol that the Union Flag takes precedence on Remembrance Sunday. References in the pro-Unionist media suggesting that the flying of the Union flag has been reduced in importance are therefore misplaced.

However, outside of official flag days, the First Minister has instructed that - as well as the normal Saltire - the EU flag should be flown from Scottish Government buildings - presumably where there are enough poles. In part, this makes up for the loss of Europe Day in May (where the EU flag took precedence) after Brexit.


Unionist opposition to the EU flag is not new. In January 2020, the SNP Government narrowly won a vote at Holyrood to keep the EU flag flying outside the Scottish Parliament after Brexit. The flag vote was only secured by nine votes with the support of the Scottish Greens. This reversed a previous decision by the parliamentary corporate body, that the flag should be lowered at 23:00 on 31 January, the moment the UK officially left the EU. This is the first time that MSPs had overturned a decision of the governing body.

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The argument of the Scottish Government for continuing to fly the EU flag - a policy that is not new and has been in force continuously since January 2020 - is that it honours all those European citizens who continue to live and work in Scotland – some 234,000 of them. Reasonable people may conclude that is a worthy aspiration.


The National: National Fact Check False

Pure rubbish.