Update: So why didn’t the Civic Centre salute Mandela?


Dacorum Borough Council has failed to clarify why flags outside the Civic Centre were not lowered to half mast following Nelson Mandela’s death.

Public sector organisations across the country put their flags at half mast on Friday as a mark of respect to South Africa’s first black president. Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the White House led the way with the mark of respect.

Herts County Council lowered flags at offices and fire stations across the county from 8am to 8pm in line with a central government request.

On Friday, borough council press officers were unable to say why the flags had not been lowered at its Marlowes base but said it could only be done at the request of central government – something that had already been issued but was not compulsory – or councillors.

The borough council did lower its Dacorum flag yesterday on the day of a memorial service in Mandela’s honour in his home country, at the request of leader of the council Councillor Andrew Williams and chief executive Sally Marshall, but has still not explained Friday’s decision despite repeated requests.

Herts Constabulary also chose not to fly its flags at half mast. A spokesman said: “The force remains a politically neutral organisation and would not fly flags at half-mast on such an occasion.”

Mr Mandela will be buried in a state funeral on Sunday.

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has paid tribute to the man who spent 27 years in jail for conspiracy to overthrow the state.

Mr Penning said: “Nelson Mandela was a larger than life character who overcame unbelievable odds to bring equal rights to his country.

“His courage, determination and humility inspired the whole world. He was one of the great heroes of the 20th century and an inspiration to a generation. I will never forget when, as a newly-appointed member of the House of Commons press lobby, I listened to him address the Houses of Parliament.”