Daily Mail apologises over flag story

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The Scottish Daily Mail has published an apology to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon over its story about flying the Union flag.

It had reported that Ms Sturgeon “decreed” that the flag should not be flown over dozens of public buildings to mark royal events.

The Mail said it was “happy” to clarify that the decision was taken by former First Minister Alex Salmond in 2010.

Ms Sturgeon said the original story was “utterly false”.

In its clarifications and corrections section, the Mail said: “We are happy to clarify that the decision to change the policy on flag flying was taken and implemented by former First Minister Alex Salmond in 2010.

“The Protocol and Honours Team updated operational guidance in December 2017.

“We accept that the policy did not change under Nicola Sturgeon and that she had no involvement in the Protocol and Honours Team updating the operational guidance on flag flying for 2018.

“We apologise to Ms Sturgeon for the contrary impression given.”

The first minister has tweeted: “The Daily Mail has admitted that its ridiculous story about me and flags was utterly false and issued a full apology.”

The row follows a story published in three newspapers on Wednesday that the flag policy change would see “dozens of public buildings” cut the number of days they fly the Union flag from 15 to one – Remembrance Day.

The Daily Telegraph also said Ms Sturgeon had “hauled down the Union flag”, while the Daily Express claimed the move was “a snub to the Queen”.

Ms Sturgeon took the papers to task on Twitter – where she posted more than a dozen tweets calling the story “simply untrue” and “ridiculous” – while her predecessor Alex Salmond issued a statement attacking those spreading the tale as “ignoramuses”.

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