Scottish Parliament sparks anger after rejecting plan to fly Israeli flag

The proposal, from a Conservative MSP, aimed to show Holyrood's solidarity with Israel after last week's Hamas terror attack


EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 27: A general view of the Scottish Parliament on November 27, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lord Smith announced that the Scottish Parliament should have the power to set income tax rates and bands, he also said that a share of VAT should be distributed to parliament and air passenger duty fully devolved. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Scottish Parliament has sparked anger after rejecting a request to fly the Israeli flag outside its building. 

Holyrood’s corporate body rejected the proposal which was aimed to show the devolved parliament’s solidarity with Israel after last week’s Hamas terror attack. 

The decision, the JC understands, was partially down to MSP Maggie Chapman, the Greens' representative on the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB), who claimed the attack was the fault of the Jewish state.

The SPCB, which makes Holyrood’s administrative decisions, consists of an MSP from each of the four largest parties in the Scottish Parliament which include the SNP, Tories, Labour and the Greens alongside presiding officer Alison Johnstone.

The corporate body turned down the proposal, tabled by Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Dr Sandesh Gulhane, on Monday.

Scottish Conservative external affairs spokesperson Donald Cameron said: “It's perhaps not surprising the parliament's corporate body rejected the reasonable proposal of my colleague, given that Maggie Chapman herself sits on that very body.

“This is a simple but symbolic gesture that would show solidarity with the people of Israel at this desperately sad and worrying time – and it’s one that the UK Government and others around the world have been happy to make.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, Holyrood’s fifth biggest party, told the JC: “Countries around the world are showing solidarity with the Israeli people after the biggest atrocity against the Jewish people since the Holocaust. 

“The arguments for Scotland’s parliament and its government doing so are no less compelling. At a time of rising antisemitism symbols of support for our Jewish community matter a great deal.”

Scottish Parliament bosses also rejected a suggestion to light up the building in the blue and white colours of Israel. They said the Parliament’s unusual architectural shape makes it difficult to illuminate.

It comes after the Houses of Parliament were lit in stripes of blue and white on Monday. The Israeli flag was also projected onto the exterior of 10 Downing Street.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "A request was received to fly the Israeli flag. The SPCB considered the request and approval was not given."

Last week, Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman posted on X/Twitter: “What’s happening in #palestine is a consequence of #apartheid, of illegal occupation & of imperial aggression by the Israel state.”

The comments were branded “vile” by politicians from across the UK political divide. 

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