British council worker faces sack for flag tribute to soldiers... just weeks after it flies the rainbow banner for gay rights
Flying a flag at half mast is a normal sign of mourning. Attacking someone for doing so is incredibly crass
A council worker could face the sack after he lowered the town hall flag in memory of six British soldiers who died in Afghanistan - despite it proudly flying a rainbow banner in support of gay rights just weeks before.
Having seen Bassetlaw District Council in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, show its support for good causes and agreeing to fly the symbolic rainbow flag last month, the unnamed worker lowered the council's own flag to half mast as a gesture to the soldiers.
But the employee, an ex-serviceman himself, was served with disciplinary papers alleging 'gross misconduct'.
It is thought he is also being quizzed for failing to carry out a 'thorough health and safety assessment' before lowering the flag on Tuesday, the day in which the bodies of the six soldiers killed in a car bomb were flown home.
Those close to the employee, who is said to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder following his own deployment, are now concerned about the impact of his reprimand. Speaking to the Sun a friend of the employee, said: 'This is an outrage. 'The council knows about his stress disorder.'
Decisions about when it is appropriate to lower the flag continue to be shrouded in confusion as the flag of the local Mercian Regiment was at half-mast over the town hall yesterday - in honour of a soldier killed on Wednesday.
The deaths of Sgt Nigel Coupe, 33, Cpl Jake Hartley, 20, Pte Anthony Frampton, 20, Pte Christopher Kershaw, 19, Pte Daniel Wade, 20, and Pte Daniel Wilford, 21, were the single biggest loss of British life in Afghanistan since 2006 and took the total number of British military fatalities since 2001 to more than 400.
Their bodies were flown back to Britain early this week and in Oxon more than 2,000 people turned out to pay their respects.
Five of the men were from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment and a sixth was attached from 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment.
A spokesman for the council wouldn't be drawn on the incident but said: 'We have a strong association with the Mercians.
'It is policy to lower the flag in the tragic event of loss of life.'