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Labour MP attacks ‘racist’ Black Country flag

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A Labour MP has provoked anger after claiming a regional flag designed by a 12-year-old schoolgirl was racist.

Labour’s Eleanor Smith, newly elected Wolverhampton South West MP, called for the Black Country flag to be scrapped for its “offensive” use of chain-making imagery.

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She said the design of the flag had been “a big mistake” because it failed to represent the Black Country’s multicultural communities.

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The flag features red, white and black triangles behind a chain motif.

It was designed by Stourbridge schoolgirl Gracie Sheppard after she won a competition in 2013.

The red and black colours were chosen in reference to US diplomat Elihu Burritt, who described the area’s glowing ironworks as “black by day and red by night” in the 1860s.

Black Country flag

The chains were intended to commemorate the iron workers who made chains for ships’ anchors. The white is a symbol of the region’s glass-making heritage since 1790.

Ms Smith’s comments coincide with Black Country Day celebrations.

Black Country Festival committee chairman Steve Edwards said: “There’s nothing racist about the flag at all.

“It’s a representation of the industry from the Black Country – chain-making was a massive part of the region.”

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