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Labour MPs refuse to use 'racist' union flag on campaign leaflets


A group of MPs have called on Keir Starmer to reject union flag election flyers amid concerns it may alienate ethnic minority voters.

The Labour leader is facing discontent from some of his MPs over the dominant use of the flag in election campaign material as some associate it with far right.

Some activists have expressed their reluctance to handle the material, while concerns were raised at recent meetings of the party’s black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) group at Westminster and at a meeting of London MPs that was attended by Labour’s director of campaigns Morgan McSweeney and deputy national campaign coordinator Ellie Reeves.

The Guardian reports that some Labour MPs have suggested that the prominence of red, white and blue still has negative connotations among ethnic minority communities targeted by the far right.

One MP said: "We are all really proud of our country but this can be a complex issue for some communities and we have to navigate that more carefully.

"For a lot of communities we are talking about colours that are associated with the National Front or another far-right group.

"Using the flag might be great for trying to reach those 'hero voters' but why can’t we have segmented branding.

Another MP added: "I can see how it would work in some places but it’s definitely detrimental in university towns, and in heavily BAME seats. They just look like union jacks really, with a bit of red on the side. There’s not even a Labour rose. You don’t need to prove your patriotism by wrapping yourself in the union jack."

One Labour councillor on the south coast said: "I’ve seen boxes of the leaflets being piled up because activists don’t want to give them out. We’re also finding that in some cases people on the doorsteps have mistaken them for leaflets put out by the Conservative."

A spokesperson for campaign group Momentum said: “Members are the lifeblood of our party, the activists who put the hard graft in on the doors.

"They must be listened to and the message is clear: Labour’s campaign materials should reflect the concerns of the communities they serve. A one-size-fits all model is not just ineffective, but has the potential to repel parts of Labour’s core voter base."