AN MP has criticised a Labour-Tory-run council for spending public cash on a new flagpole – so the Union Flag can be flown outside its headquarters 365 days a year.

Motherwell and Wishaw SNP MP Marion Fellows says the coalition administration at North Lanarkshire Council originally agreed to spend at least £20,000 on a fourth flagpole outside the Civic Centre in Motherwell. She said the plan has been “watered down”, with a switch to a “smaller, cheaper” pole, but is still questioning the use of council taxpayers’ money.

The council currently has three flagpoles. Two are used for the local authority’s own flag and the Saltire. The other usually carries the Union Flag but it is sometimes replaced by flags marking specific events. Tory councillor Trevor Douglas raised a motion wanting the Union Flag flown every day.

Fellows said: “Due to the public’s opposition and outrage, the Labour-Tory coalition has backtracked on its plans to install a flagpole that would have cost the public at least £20,000. It has now watered down the plans and will fly the Union Flag from a smaller, cheaper flagpole.

“The council tried to downplay this by implying this was the original plan. But even £1 on a flag is £1 too many. We are currently suffering under Westminster austerity and the public were right to hold the Labour-Tory coalition to account for what is an unjustifiable way to spend public money. It shows where their priorities are.”

A council spokesperson said: “Following the council decision on Thursday night, an initial assessment was carried out to identify the most suitable location for a fourth flagpole. It was decided to install this flagpole on the civic centre structure at a cost of £185 plus VAT and the flagpole was ordered on Friday.”