Union Flag Bill 2008

The Union Flag

The Union Flag

In 2008 a 10 Minute Rule Bill, sponsored by Andrew Rosindell MP, was introduced. It received its first reading on Tuesday 5 February and was due to have second reading on Friday 17 October.

In brief the Union Flag Bill affirms the Union Flag as the national flag of the United Kingdom. It confirms the proportions of the flag are 3:5, and it endorses its dual names Union Flag and Union Jack.

The Bill goes on to describe the flag, and it is in this particular that interpretation is required to ensure absolute accuracy, because the wording of the Bill is incomplete in some detail. Had the Bill passed through the normal parliamentary procedure, amendments would have been made in the usual manner. Because this did not occur (and the Bill did not become an Act) the Flag Institute has provided the interpretation necessary to achieve completeness. Thus we reproduce here the Union Flag Bill as published by parliament, and follow this with a reworded version which gives a full and accurate interpretation, together with a line drawing and a colour picture of the national flag. These may be used as a proper reference whenever one is needed.

It is important to emphasise that the Bill makes no change whatsoever to the flag, but merely states what has been de facto custom and practice for very many years, albeit often ignored in the manufacture of flags in both public and private sectors.

 
The Bill

Bill 6554/3

A
B I L L
TO

Define the Union flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; to make provision about the display and flying of the Union flag; and for connected purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

1 Definition of Union flag
 (1)Any Union flag (commonly known as the Union Jack), flown pursuant to or in accordance with any Act, instrument or guidance issued under any Act or instrument, must conform to the description in the Schedule.
 (2)The Union flag, as described by this Act, shall be the official flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2 Short title and extent
 (1)This Act may be cited as the Union Flag Act 2008.
 (2)This Act extends to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 
S C H E D U L E
DESCRIPTION OF UNION FLAG

1(1)The Union flag is composed of three crosses on a royal blue background, as follows-
  (a)a red St. George’s cross,
  (b)a white St. Andrew’s saltire,
  (c)a red St. Patrick’s saltire.
 (2)The proportions of the flag are three units wide to five units long.
 (3)The overall width of the diagonals is six units, comprised of three units of white, two units of red and one unit of white.
 (4)The diagonals run from corner to corner with the centre line of each six unit wide diagonal intersecting opposite corners of the flag and intersecting the centre line of the other six unit wide diagonal in the centre of the flag.
 (5)A red cross six units wide runs from the edge to edge, centred on the flag.
 (6)This red cross is bordered by a white fimbriation (or edge) two units wide.
2 The flag is to be flown with the broader white diagonal on the side nearest the flagpole uppermost.

 
Amendments

The Flag Institute has suggested the following amendments (shown in red) to the description to make the specification clearer:

 
S C H E D U L E
DESCRIPTION OF UNION FLAG

1(1)The Union flag is composed of three crosses on a royal blue background, as follows-
  (a)a red St. George’s cross,
  (b)a white St. Andrew’s saltire,
  (c)a red St. Patrick’s saltire.
 (2)The proportions of the flag are 30 units wide to 50 units long.
 (3)The overall width of the diagonals is six units, comprised of three units of white, two units of red and one unit of white.
 (4)On the side of the flag nearest the flagpole (ie. the hoist) the broader white diagonal is uppermost and on the side furthest from the flagpole (ie. the fly) the narrower white diagonal is uppermost.
 (5)The diagonals run from corner to corner with the centre line of each six unit wide diagonal intersecting opposite corners of the flag and intersecting the centre line of the other six unit wide diagonal in the centre of the flag.
 (6)A red cross six units wide runs from the edge to edge, centred on the flag.
 (7)This red cross is bordered by a white fimbriation (or edge) two units wide.
2 The flag is to be flown with the broader white diagonal on the side nearest the flagpole uppermost.
3 The colour specifications for the flag are Pantone 280 C for royal blue and Pantone 186 C for red. No specification is given for white.

 
The specification diagram below was drawn up as part of the drafting of the bill:

3x5 Union Flag Diagram

Further reading

Outside links:
Progress of The Union Flag Bill on the United Kingdom Parliament web site
Hansard report of the first reading debate of The Union Flag Bill in the House of Commons on 05 February 2008