Scotland Office to fly England flag for World Cup

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The Scotland Office will fly the England flag during World Cup matches involving Gareth Southgate's side, David Mundell confirmed after Theresa May backed calls for public buildings to hoist St George's Cross.

The Scottish Secretary said Dover House on Whitehall would fly the England flag as long as UK Government departments displayed the Saltire in 2022 - a vote of confidence in the Scottish team's qualification chances for the next World Cup in Qatar.

At Prime Minister's Questions, Mrs May was asked to "signal her government's support" for the England team, who have already qualified for the knockout stage of the competition and will face Belgium in their final group game on Thursday.

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"Across the country, people are taking great price in the disciplined performance of Gareth Southgate's young and diverse team," the Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford, Nick Boles said. "Would my right honourable friend signal her government's support for their campaign during the playoffs by asking public buildings across England to fly St George's Cross alongside the Union Jack if they want?"

A number of Conservative MPs were heard to say "and Scotland" during Mr Boles' question.

Mrs May replied: "I do want to congratulate the England team on making it through to the next round in the World Cup, and I can assure my honourable friend that Number 10 will be flying the England flag on the day of each of England's matches from now on, and we'll be encouraging other government departments to do the same."

The Prime Minister added that she was "going to go further than my predecessors: next year we will do the same for the women's World Cup."

Asked by a journalist on twitter whether the Scotland office would answer Mrs May's call, the Scottish Secretary said he was "happy to do so as I am confident Number 10 and other UK departments will be flying the Saltire in 2022".

A Scotland Office source was quoted as saying the offer would only apply to the department's London HQ, as its Edinburgh officers are undergoing repairs and are concealed by scaffolding.

In 2011, Number 10 raised the Welsh flag when its rugby team reached the World Cup semi-finals.

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