Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has told British embassies not to fly the rainbow flag at this summer’s Pride events, according to reports.
Last year numerous embassies flew the flag, including Paris, Oslo, Tel Aviv and Santiago, along with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London when William Hague was foreign secretary.
But this summer the UK flag must ‘always take priority’, a spokesperson for the office told the Daily Mail.
‘It is flown from the FCO’s main flagpole at all times,’ the spokesperson added. ‘It is never substituted for another flag. It is the FCO’s long-standing policy to fly the Union flag, national flags and the flags of Overseas Territories.
‘The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to promoting and protecting the rights of LGB&T people. UK Diplomatic Missions around the world will mark Pride Week in a number of ways.’
Hammond, the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, was one of four cabinet ministers not to vote against equal marriage in 2013, and he said afterwards it was ‘damaging’ to the Conservative party.
LGBTI rights supporters have taken to Twitter to condemn the ban.
Chris Bryant, Labour MP and Shadow Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport, tweeted: ‘Shame on Philip Hammond for banning UK ambassadors from flying Rainbow flag during Pride marches. UK shd stand for freedom. #MagnaCarta’