9 Year Campaign to have Union Jack Fly Permanently from Houses of Parliament Succeeds
Since being elected in 2001 to represent Romford, Greater London, Andrew Rosindell set himself on a mission. The MP sought to utilise his presence in the House of Commons to make it so the Union Flag (the national flag of the United Kingdom) was permanently flying from the Houses of Parliament.
Mr Rosindell has commented many times that he and many others believe that the Union flag is a sign of the United Kingdom’s heritage, history, and national unity. The campaign argues that the flag should be flown with pride and confidence from the building that represents the UK government.
A historical convention contains the rule that the Union flag should only be flown when Parliament is sitting. This meant that for much of year, including the Christmas period and the lengthy Summer recess, the flagpole would be empty. It was noted that as so many tourists take photos of the Houses of Parliament particularly during the Summer, that it would be of benefit to have the flag flying so it could be included in people’s photos and memories.
This 150-year-old rule has since been overturned and was celebrated at an event held by the Flags and Heraldry Committee, chaired by Andrew Rosindell.
Rosindell has also spoken of how many loopholes had to be jumped through in order to change the convention. A senior colleague had previously told him that the rule was in place so that the Queen could ‘always tell if Parliament was sitting just by glancing at the flagpole from Buckingham Palace.’
Curious to learn more, when the Queen visited his Romford constituency, Rosindell 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".
Even with the Queen's seeming approval of the campaign, there were several other people and committees around Parliament who had to be persuaded to support the work of Rosindell. Eventually, enough people from various committees and organisations agreed and the campaign was successful. Thanks to the work of Rosindell and many others, the mission is complete and the Union flag now flies permanently from a flagpole at the Houses of Parliament. 365 days a year.