A TAXI driving councillor is vowing to defy town hall officials by refusing to remove England flags from his vehicle.
Coun Andrew Jenkinson, from Scarborough, decked out his taxi in St George’s Cross flags during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and decided to keep them to show his support for England’s football team in the European Championships.
But now the grandfather-of-five, 62, has received a letter from Scarborough Council warning him that is breaking taxi and private hire policy and should remove the flags.
Coun Jenkinson, who represents the Conservatives in the Newby ward said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. I’ve had so much support from people beeping their horns, cheering in the street - I just want to show I’m proud of my country. I was at a council meeting about two weeks ago and somebody said to me ‘You want to be careful with those flags, you’re pushing your luck’.
“I didn’t know what they were talking about so I spoke to a licensing officer at the meeting, but he said he didn’t know anything about the flags being banned and would have to look into it. The next week I got a letter from the licensing officer I had spoken to, telling me I was breaching licensing regulations.”
He said the letter told him that the council’s main concern was safety of the travelling public and flying flags was not considered safe practice.
Coun Jenkinson said: “They seem to be suggesting that it’s a health and safety danger having flags on your car window - how ridiculous is that.
“I’ve not taken the flags down. I’m not going to take them down until England are out of the tournament. This is a celebration of my country. I’ve suggested to the licensing officers that there should be some compromise on this. There should be some flexibility so that people can fly flags at certain times, for example St George’s Day, Royal family events and when England are playing.
Scarborough Council’s head of environmental services Andrew Skelton said: “As a council we are very much in favour of our residents showing their patriotism.
“If we allow flags of our own nationality to be flown then we would quickly get to a situation where drivers might think they can display the flags of other nations or show political affiliations and allegiances and this is something that may cause offence to some people.”