A CONSERVATIVE MP has come under heavy fire on social media for suggesting that people who do not wish to see the Union flag flown outside every school should be “educated” into thinking otherwise.

Tom Hunt, who has represented Ipswich since the 2019 General Election, was commenting on a news story about a school in England which had to back down on a “racist” uniform policy after a student protest.

Daniel Smith, the principal at Pimlico Academy in Westminster, had faced a vote of no confidence following the protest against bans on certain hijabs and hairstyles.

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In a letter to parents promising to revise the ban, Smith also promised to revise the school’s policy on flying the Union flag, saying it is a symbol that “evokes often intense reactions”.

Responding to the principal’s comment, Hunt tweeted: “The flying of the Union flag should be compulsory for all schools.

“If any pupils and teachers have concerns about this then surely they can be ‘educated’ about what the flag actually represents. [The Union flag] belongs to every single British person.”

Social media users have been quick to condemn the MP, saying that his use of “educated” in quote marks sounds like “a veiled threat”.

Many said it was a move towards “Americanisation”, and suggested the Tories aimed to have children recite a pledge of allegiance to the flag as they do in schools across the US.

Richard Littler, creator of the satirical Scarfolk town, wrote: “‘What the flag actually represents’ and ‘compulsory’ don't belong in the same sentence.

“Double whammy lack of self-awareness and comprehension. Extra points for making 'educated' sound like 'we'll kick the sh*t out of you until you comply'.”

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Author Chris Brookmyre added: “Symbols famously mean absolutely the same thing to everyone who views them. And if this particular one doesn't, Tom wants to ‘educate’ you until it does.”

Others raised concerns around tensions which could arise should the Tory’s desired policy be extended to Northern Ireland.

Newly announced guidance from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s office, for whom Hunt used to work, has asked that the Union flag be flown on all UK Government buildings every day of the year. However, Northern Ireland is exempt as it has its own rules on the flying of flags.

Tom Hunt has been approached for comment.