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British embassies told not to fly rainbow flag during Pride

2015-06-16
British embassies will no longer fly the rainbow flag during Pride events around the world. The flag will also not be flown from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) during London Pride - as occurred last year - following instructions from Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, the Daily Mail reports. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The British embassy in Riga, Latvia, flies the rainbow flag to mark Riga Pride in 2008. (Photo: Andrejs Visockis)

"The Union flag always takes priority," an FCO spokesperson said. "It is flown from the FCO’s main flagpole at all times. It is never substituted for another flag. It is the FCO’s long-standing policy to fly the Union flag, national flags and the flags of Overseas Territories.’ "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGB&T people. UK Diplomatic Missions around the world will mark Pride Week in a number of ways." Despite the comments, the rainbow flag was indeed flown during last year's London Pride parade. William Hague, who was Foerign Secretary at the time, shared a picture of the flag on social media, writing: ‘The rainbow flag is flying over the Foreign Office today as the LGBT Pride 2014 parade makes its way through London.’ haue Last year - before Mr Hammond took over the role - British embassies in Paris, Oslo, Tel Aviv and Santiago also flew the rainbow flag to mark local Pride events, An embassy staff member in Rome reportedly told the Mail: "Staff of all persuasions at the embassy wore the rainbow colours in T-shirts for a photo shoot for Rome Pride as they were not allowed to fly the flag. "People are seriously unhappy." Philip Hammond was one of just four Cabinet ministers to oppose the gay marriage policy in 2012, saying it was "upsetting vast numbers of people". More stories: Where are all the bisexual men? 17 reasons Monica was the gayest friends character