Veteran BBC presenter Huw Edwards has waded into the ongoing flag nationalism row – and the broadcaster’s alleged response has sparked anger among some of its viewers.

The saga began this week after BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt made a tongue-in-cheek reference about the size the Union Jack proudly displayed behind housing secretary Robert Jenrick during an interview.

“I think your flag is not up to standard size government interview measurements. I think it’s just a little bit small. But that’s your department really,” Stayt said on Thursday, in remarks likely prompted in part by the frequency with which politicians – largely of Tory ilk – appear keen to drape themselves in ever-larger Union Jacks.

However, it was his co-host Naga Munchetty who suffered much of the initial backlash on Twitter, with the more ardent of the social media site’s flag-loving populace seemingly angered by her – frankly understandable – inability to stifle a laugh at Stayt’s remark, to which she added: “There’s always a flag. They had the picture of the Queen there as well though. In the Westminster office I am assuming.”

Munchetty later apologised for liking a series of “offensive” tweets about the use of the Union Jack in the interview, reportedly after being scolded by BBC bosses.

The broadcaster’s director-general Tim Davie – whose arrival sparked a wave of headlines about a looming crackdown on purported left-wing bias in some BBC output – was said to be “furious” about the exchange, according to The Telegraph.

So it appears unlikely he was overly delighted when straight-talking newsreader Huw Edwards decided to also wade into the debate.

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In a now-deleted tweet, the Welshman appeared to mock the furore, tweeting a picture of himself with Wales’s flag in the background, captioned: “Flags are now mandatory – very pleased with my new backdrop for BBC News at Ten.

But in a follow-up post, he lamented that his lighthearted tweet had been “cut down in its prime”, adding: “By order.”

While Edwards appeared unperturbed, adding that Y Ddraig Goch would be flying again in style on Saturday as Wales seek to clinch a grand slam at the Six Nations, the BBC’s alleged decision to rebuke him drew significant dismay on social media.

The hashtag, #IStandWithHuw soon began to trend, with people posting screenshots of his initial tweet in solidarity.

Welsh politicians also stepped in to defend Edwards and to question why the BBC appeared to take issue with the Welsh flag, having allegedly cracked down on criticism of political usage of the Union Jack hours earlier.

“So ddraig goch bad, union jack good, is it BBC?” asked Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Woods, who went so far as to change her profile picture to his now-deleted picture.

This sentiment was echoed by others too.

But many merely lamented that a comment clearly intended as a joke had received such a response – and voiced their support for Edwards.

A BBC spokesperson declined to comment.

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