Communities Secretary Eric Pickles raised the flag of the Falkland Islands today outside the Department for Communities and Local Government in Whitehall, London, to mark the Islands’ Liberation Day and the start of a new flag flying programme by the Department in this Jubilee year.
The Falklands’ flag outside Eland House
Mr Pickles has asked for the flags of the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories - from Anguilla to the Turks and Caicos Islands - to be proudly flown by the Department as part of a formal recognition of the continued important and close relationship with the country. This follows from a programme of flying England’s county flags last year. The Falklands’ flag, which is also being flown outside Downing Street and the Foreign Office, appears alongside the Union flag, which is flown all year round.
The flags will be flown at appropriate times in the coming months to recognise national days of significance. Britain has 14 Overseas Territories which encompass over 600,000 square miles and are home to 260,000 people - more than Nottingham or Newcastle. The Falkland Islands are made up of over 700 islands with the two largest, West and East Falkland home to around 3,000 people.
Liberation Day on 14 June marks the anniversary of the Falkland Islands being freed by British forces after an unprovoked Argentine invasion thirty years ago - marking the end of the battle in the South Atlantic.
At the ceremony of hoisting the Falklands’ flag, Eric Pickles said:
Today, we pay tribute to the bravery of our Armed Forces thirty years ago in liberating the Falklands from totalitarian aggression.
British forces put their lives on the line to defend British sovereign territory, the British way of life and the rights of British people to determine their own future. This is was a victory both for freedom and the indefatigable spirit of the Islanders.
The Hon Dick Sawle MLA said:
This year is an important one for Falkland Islanders. Not only does it mark 60 years on the throne for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, but also, 30 years since the cessation of hostilities with Argentina. As a proud member of the UK Overseas Territory family, relations between the Islands and the UK are closer than ever. I am sure that this gesture by the DCLG will be appreciated by all Islanders.
Liberation Day is the perfect day to fly the Falkland Islands flag and we are grateful for Her Majesty’s Government for its continued support.
Notes to editors
The Department is currently assessing responses to a discussion paper on relaxing the planning regime on flag flying and allowing people to fly more flags without having to seek and pay for planning consent from their local authority.
There are 14 UK Overseas Territories, 11 of which have permanent populations. Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands are all in the Caribbean. Bermuda is in the North Atlantic Ocean whilst the Falkland Islands and the Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are located in the South Atlantic. Pitcairn, with a population of less than 60 people, is the only Territory in the Pacific. Gibraltar and The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekilia in Cyprus are the only territories in Europe. The remaining Territories, ie the British Antarctic Territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (in the South Atlantic Ocean) do not have permanent populations.