Keir Starmer calls Boris Johnson the 'Comical Ali' of the cost of ...

Boris Johnson made a hypocritical point to Keir Starmer today, when he slammed the opposition party for spending taxpayer money on flags.

Speaking in the House of Commons during a fiery edition of PMQs today, Johnson responded to Starmer's punchy closing statement in which he called on voters to turn to Labour in the upcoming local elections, and listed examples of Labour run councils that he claims went "bankrupt".

He also said the Labour council at Hammersmith spent £27,000 on EU flags, slightly misunderstanding a 2019 story in which the council was criticised for hanging pro-EU banners from lamp posts in the authority, which they said they purchased to encourage European citizens to apply for settled status.

This is all very well and true but if Johnson thinks wasting taxpayer money on flags or banners is so egregious, perhaps he should turn his attention to the behaviour of his own government.

After all, his government has spent more than £163,000 on Union flags in the last two years across various government departments.

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Transparency data released by the government last March, to give one example, shows that the department for transport spent £700.80 on four Union Flags in December, to be placed at their headquarters.

The DCMS published new guidance in March last year calling for the flag to be flown every day over government buildings, as culture secretary Oliver Dowden said it was a “proud reminder of our history and the ties that bind us”.

At the time of the Hammersmith council debacle, a council spokesman told the press: “The vast majority of EU residents who have settled in Hammersmith and Fulham are essential workers in our NHS, care services and economy and we’d like them to stay, so the banners clearly send that message.

“They cost £27,000 which is a small figure in comparison to the huge costs taxpayers will have to bear if these essential workers don’t get settled status.”

A small figure also in comparison to £163,000, some would say...

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)