Council chiefs have moved to dispel rumours that Mansfield market traders are being ordered not to fly England flags from their stalls, because it could influence voting in the upcoming EU referendum.
Suggestions have been rife in the town centre that flying a St George’s cross would incur the wrath of the council as they look to remain politically neutral.
With voting a little over a week away, it is feared displaying the flag could be construed as nationalistic support for Britain to exit the EU.
This is despite England playing in the European Championships, coupled with the Queen’s recent 90th birthday celebrations.
But council market workers have since spoken to the traders this week to clarify the position.
While traders will be able to fly the red and white flag, council workers will not be permitted.
Chief executive of Mansfield District Council, Bev Smith, told the Chad: “The council did not ask stall holders to remove flags but it did ask a couple of traders who had flags ready to go up to refrain from displaying them until our position could be clarified.
“The previous week council workers were asked not to display national flags on council-owned vehicles because of rules about the council having to remain strictly neutral in the run-up to the referendum.
“Interpreting these rules is not always clear cut and it has been helpful for the council to be able to consider the position further.
“The council cannot permit the display of any flags that are aligned to a political group or an issue arising in a referendum and this is the position that persists throughout the year.
“Whilst it is not appropriate to display national flags on council vehicles, the position is more relaxed with regard to market stalls.
Market trader Michelle Anthoney, who runs a plant stall on Market Place, said: “I think it was just crossed wires.
“It would have been daft to say you couldn’t fly a flag, given it was the Queen’s birthday and that England are playing.”