ALMOST 3000 people have signed a petition to keep the European flag flying outside Holyrood after Brexit on January 31.

The move follows a decision by MSPs on the cross party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body to remove the blue and gold starred emblem at 11pm on Friday next week.

Setting out the reasons against the flag being taken down, petitioner Gary Paterson said: “Scotland, and its Parliament, voted emphatically to reject Brexit, the removal of the European flag stands against that expressed will of the majority of citizens and MSPs.

“Brexit aside, the European flag represents both the EU and the Council of Europe, which the UK and Scotland will continue to remain in, as they have since its conception in 1949.”

The petition also followed a motion lodged by Alasdair Allan, the backbench SNP MSP, in the Scottish Parliament calling for it to continue to be flown, saying it would be in line with Scotland’s vote to remain in the bloc.

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The motion stated: “That the Parliament believes that it should continue to fly the EU flag on its grounds, in line with the democratic decisions of Scotland’s voters and MSPs to remain in the EU.”

It was backed by a range of SNP and Scottish Greens MSPs, including Bill Kidd, John Finnie, Patrick Harvie, Bob Doris, James Dornan, Emma Harper, John Mason, Colin Beattie, George Adam, Richard Lyle, Stuart McMillan, Willie Coffey, Shona Robison, David Torrance, Mark Ruskell, Joan McAlpine, Gil Paterson, Fulton MacGregor, Tom Arthur, Sandra White, Ruth Maguire, Bruce Crawford, Maureen Watt, Rona Mackay, Keith Brown, Annabelle Ewing and Christine Grahame.

No Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative MSP has, to date, signed Allan’s motion. The Scottish Government is considering steps to get Holyrood to reverse the decision.