HC Deb 03 November 1986 vol 103 cc304-5W
Mr. Peter Bruinvels

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in what circumstances he would consider repealing the Flags and Emblems Act; and if he will detail the representations he has received against and in favour of such action.

Mr. Tom King

I am considering, in the context of a review of Public Order Law in Northern Ireland, whether the Act should be repealed.

Repeal has been advocated by nationalist spokesmen in Northern Ireland, and by the Irish Government, for a number of years on the basis that the Act is discriminatory and offensive to some sections of the community in Northern Ireland, and has also been recommended in the past by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights, on the grounds that the Act is unnecessary for public order purposes.

Following speculation in the press over recent months, I have received a small number of letters some from people who apparently believe that the flying of the Irish tricolour is illegal and that repeal would legalise it and others from people who believe that repeal would make the display of the Union flag illegal; both groups are mistaken.