Today, 9th May, is Europe day and it is customary for the European Union flag to be flown from Government buildings. This would also normally be the case for Eastbourne Town Hall. However, this year, we have decided to not fly the EU flag, specifically because with the forthcoming EU parliamentary elections on 23rd May we are in a period of ‘electoral purdah’.
Purdah is a period of around 6 weeks leading up to an election where we are unable to use council premises to promote or appear to promote any party or political position related to the forthcoming elections. For example, earlier in the purdah period we decided to cancel a booking at a council venue for a launch event by the Brexit Party on the basis that it could be perceived as supporting a particular position. Thus, given the sensitive nature of the forthcoming EU elections, deciding not to fly the EU flag is consistent with the precedent set by that earlier position.
The application of purdah rules and guidance is one of balance and judgement and will inevitably lead to some disagreement. However, having already established a position, it is appropriate to show a consistency in approach.
Published 9 May 2019