Labour councillors and candidates took part in an online debate about flying the Union flag and what it symbolises – with some responses sparking outrage. The exchange took place on Whatsapp between a group of Labour members in Warrington, Cheshire.
They were asked their thoughts on the Union flag on the messaging service after a member shared a screengrab of a question discussed on TV.
The question in the picture read: “Should Union flags fly every day? Are flags a sign of unity and patriotism or do they divide us?”
One election candidate said the flag should not be raised and claimed it is being used to promote “non-inclusive agendas”.
Another member described the flag as “chilling”, meanwhile another said it was “another move from the Fascist playbook”.
The condemnation of the flag has sparked an angry response from a number of Express.co.uk readers, who let their feelings known in the comments section of an earlier story.
One reader wrote: “What I find ‘fascist and chilling’ is the fact that we have people in this country that find the idea of us flying our national flag as fascist and chilling.
“Are we to assume that every country that flies its own flag is also fascist?”
Another user said: “Obviously these people do not understand what living with facism means.
“We have fought two wars to keep it out of our country. We should fly our Union flag with pride. If they do not like it they can go and live in Germany!”
Councillor Rebecca Knowles, cabinet member for adult social care, replied: “It’s chilling.
“There’s nothing at all wrong about being proud of your nationality but this all feels pretty creepy and I must say as the mum of a biracial family it makes me feel very nervous indeed.”
Responding to the leaked messages, a Labour insider told the Daily Mail: “Some of these comments are pretty despicable and many Labour voters in Warrington will be appalled that said that prospective candidates and councillors have been talking about the union flag and national anthem in such a derogatory, un-British manner.
“They definitely fly in the face of all attempts by Starmer to use patriotism to win over voters in northern towns.”