Union Flag Bill 2008

The Union Flag

The Union Flag

In 2008 a Union Flag Bill, sponsored by Andrew Rosindell MP, was introduced in the UK Parliament under the Ten Minute Rule but failed to progress beyond its first reading on Tuesday 5 February.

In summary, the Bill affirms the Union Flag as the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; confirms the proportions of the flag as 3:5; endorses its dual names – Union Flag and Union Jack; and provides a written description. This description, however, is incomplete in some details, and the failure of the Bill to progress allowed no opportunity to make amendments.

To provide clarification, and to ensure the availability of a full and accurate description of the national flag, the Flag Institute hereby reproduces the Union Flag Bill as published by the UK Parliament, but follows this with an amended version, accompanied by a line drawing and a colour picture. These will provide an authoritative source of reference wherever needed.

It is important to emphasise that the Union Flag Bill makes no change whatsoever to the design of the flag, but merely codifies longstanding custom and practice often ignored in flagmaking for 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 clarify the specification:

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 following diagram was drawn up in drafting the bill:

3x5 Union Flag Diagram

Further reading

Progress of The Union Flag Bill on the UK Parliament website; report in
Hansard on the debate on the First Reading of the Union Flag Bill, House of Commons, 5 February 2008.