Nicola Sturgeon has not banned the Union Flag from Scottish government buildings

26 February 2021
What was claimed

Nicola Sturgeon has banned the Union Jack from British government buildings and replaced it with the EU flag.

Our verdict

The Union Flag has not been banned from Scottish government buildings. It is still flown on Remembrance Day as has always been the case. However, it’s true that in 2021, Nicola Sturgeon instructed that the European flag be flown daily, except for on specific flag dates.

A post on Facebook has claimed Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has “BANNED the Union Jack from British Government buildings and replaced it with the EU flag”.

The Union Flag has not been banned from Scottish government buildings and has not been “replaced”. However, it is no longer flown on royal birthdays, while the European flag is now flown almost every day.

The Union Flag is flown on Remembrance Sunday. In 2021 it is due to be flown alongside the Saltire (the flag of Scotland) on the Victoria Quay building, and the Lion Rampant at the St Andrew’s House building, due to the fact that Remembrance Sunday this year coincides with the birthday of the Duke of Rothesay, as the Prince of Wales is known as in Scotland.

Up until 2018 the Union Flag was also flown on the birthdays of various other members of the Royal Family.

The Scottish government publishes annual guidance on what days certain flags should be flown from external flagpoles on its government buildings. It doesn’t control the flag arrangements on UK or other devolved government buildings.

The European flag has been flown on Europe Day on 9 May since at least 2014, before Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister

But the most recent guidance for 2021 says: “the First Minister has instructed that the European flag is flown from Scottish Government buildings on a daily basis except for specific flag flying dates.”

This did not appear in guidance for 2020 or 2019.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as partly false because the Union flag has not been banned from Scottish government buildings.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.