A council which caused controversy for not flying a St. George’s flag over fears it was offensive to Muslims has pulled a U-turn.
Radstock Town Council in Somerset was widely condemned for its decision earlier this month, with locals describing it as “absolute nonsense”.
But the council has now voted unanimously to buy a St George’s flag and display it on “appropriate occasions”.
The row kicked off following a meeting when councillor Eleanor Jackson expressed concerns that Muslims could be offended by the flying of the English flag.
Her comments were criticised by locals including members of the Muslim community, which said it was taking political correctness too far.
The council said they would buy a flag – but denied the initial decision was connected with Ms Jackson’s comments.
Councillor Lesley Mansell said: “The general comment made by Cllr Jackson, as we moved to the vote, had no impact on the decision we took.”
On Saturday, local people were joined by people from around the country for a protest over the original decision.
By that time, the town council had teamed up with neighbouring Westfield Parish Council to borrow its flag and get it put up the flagpole.
Ms Mansell said that Ms Jackson – who has been unavailable for comment – had apologised for her comments.
The idea that Muslims might find the English flag offensive was roundly dismissed by the Muslim Council of Britain.
Among the critics of the town council’s earlier decision had been Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.
This week, Labour town councillor Peter Sas wrote to Mr Pickles inviting him to see the town for himself, and hitting back at some “ill-informed” criticism.
Mr Sas, who criticised Ms Jackson’s comments, said: “What is clear about the recent furore over the flag is that Radstock Town Council, and one councillor in particular, has suffered from an error of judgement.
“This is regrettable but the council has done its best to remedy the situation.
“We are a proud and patriotic community that faces many challenges caused by the austerity measures imposed by your government.”