House of Commons denies plan to fly Palestinian flag at parliament

An email sent to MPs on Friday said Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was due to host the Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot


The House of Commons has denied that it planned to hoist the Palestinian flag next week (Photo: Henry Nicholls/AFP)

House of Commons authorities have said that an announcement that the Palestinian flag was due to fly over parliament next week was a ‘mistake’.

An email sent to MPs on Friday announced that the Palestinian ambassador Husam Zomlot was due to be hosted by Speaker Lindsay Hoyle on 10 January.

On most days, the three speaker's flagpoles outside the Palace of Westminster only display the Union flag.

When Sir Lindsay meets with visitors and international dignitaries at the House of Commons, however, the flag of their nation will be flown.

Criticising the decision, Iain Mansfield, the director of research at thinktank Policy Exchange said: “This is baffling behaviour by the Speaker. The UK does not recognise the state of Palestine.

“Should the Speaker be committing the entire House of Commons to such a controversial position on the current conflict? Is Speaker-led diplomacy really appropriate in this case? It is hardly impartial.

“Mr Speaker has serious questions to answer - not least from the many Parliamentarians who may not share his views.”

Later on Friday, a House of Commons spokesman claimed that Zomlot had never been due to visit at all.

“A routine internal planning email was sent in error,” they said.

"We can confirm no meeting with the Palestinian Ambassador is scheduled to take place.”

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