Belfast of­fice bans pic­tures of Queen

Daily Express - - NEWS - By Michael Knowles Home Af­fairs Cor­re­spon­dent

THE re­moval of por­traits of the Queen from the North­ern Ire­land Of­fice has been branded as “pan­der­ing to the Repub­li­cans”.

All pic­tures of Her Majesty have been taken down in Belfast af­ter a civil ser­vant re­ceived £10,000 in com­pen­sa­tion for be­ing “of­fended” by walk­ing past an im­age of the monarch.

Many na­tion­al­ists in North­ern Ire­land do not recog­nise the Queen as the head of state, but the ban on im­ages of her has prompted wide­spread fury.

Sammy Wil­son, a se­nior DUP MP, branded the NIO as “a nest of Repub­li­can-pleas­ing vipers”.

And Labour MP Kate Hoey added: “Given it’s a UK Gov­ern­ment de­part­ment, I would have thought it not un­rea­son­able that you would ex­pect to see a por­trait of the head of state.

“Who­ever made this decision needs to be rep­ri­manded – and I hope the new Sec­re­tary of State de­mands that they be re­placed.”

In a state­ment, the North­ern Ire­land Sec­re­tary Ju­lian Smith said that al­though he had a pic­ture of Her Majesty in his pri­vate of­fice, the NIO “takes its obligation­s un­der the North­ern Ire­land Act and fair em­ploy­ment leg­is­la­tion se­ri­ously”.

Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son was said to be “puz­zled” by the decision not to have any pic­tures of the Queen on dis­play when he vis­ited Stor­mont on Wed­nes­day.

Out of favour... Queen un­veils a por­trait in 2016

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