After his election to the House of Commons in 2001, Andrew Rosindell has been on a mission to have the Union Jack permanently flying from the Houses of Parliament. His campaign is nearing its conclusion, and already for a while the flag has been flying from the Victoria Tower of the Houses of Parliament.
A reception has been held by the parliamentary Flags and Heraldry Committee, chaired by Rosindell, to celebrate the 150-year old rule that the flag only flies when Parliament is sitting has been overturned. The convention used to leave the flagpole empty for most of the year, especially at summer when a large number of tourists would take pictures of the building.
Mr Rosindell commented that the Union flag was a sign of the country’s heritage, history, and national unity, and argued that it should be flown with pride and confidence.
He also spoke of how many loop holes had to be jumped through in order to change the convention. He had been told by a senior colleague that the rule existed so that the Queen could always tell if Parliament was sitting just by glancing at the flagpole from Buckingham Palace. However when the Queen visited Andrew’s Romford constituency, he asked her about the legitimacy of the claim, to which she apparently replied: “When I want to know if Parliament is sitting I switch on BBC Parliament”.
With the Queen’s seeming approval of his campaign, a number of other people and committees around Parliament had to be persuaded to support the campaign, which they eventually all did. As a result of the campaign, the nation’s Union flag is permanent flying from Parliament 365 days a year.