Fears that ‘home rule’ signs could hit tourism

'Home Rule' posters on road signs near the England/Scotland border
'Home Rule' posters on road signs near the England/Scotland border

Large stickers calling for ‘home rule’ for England have been plastered on road signs along the Scottish border.

The stickers showing Saint George’s flag were put on signs in various border communities, including Berwick, Norham, Horncliffe and Cornhill on Tweed in Northumberland. They have also been found between Coldstream and Duns in Scotland.

The campaign has been condemned by a councillor who claimed it sent out the wrong message to tourists.

Dougie Watkin, Northumberland County Councillor for Norham and Islandshires, found four stickers on border road signs.

Two of these have since been removed by locals.

Coun Watkin also said the timing of the act could not have been worse, just a month ahead of the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Flodden, on of the most decisive battles between England and Scotland.

There was also consternation at the cost to taxpayers, with two authorities confirming they would be sending teams out to remove the posters.

Several of the same posters have been noticed on the ‘Welcome to England’ sign by the A1 at Berwick, as well as at the Morrisons roundabout, i a prominent position to those motorists heading north of the border.

More were reported at the border-have been Union Chain Bridge, Horncliffe, as well as at the Northumberland-Cumbria border on the A69 near Haltwhistle.

Coun Watkin has reported the posters to the county council, and asked that staff be sent to remove them.

He said: “At the height of the tourist season, it is absolutely disgraceful.

The councillor said the timing of the poster campaign before September’s Flodden events was unfortunate. “It is not the image we wish to portray, particularly the month before Flodden,” he said.

He added: “It is going to cost money to the ratepayers to get rid of them.”

Spokespeople for both the Highways Agency and Northumberland County Council have confirmed the stickers will be removed.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “Scottish Borders Council will remove any unauthorised or illegal signs on our road network where appropriate.”

The stunt has already provoked responses from nationalist groups after various news outlets suggested the stickers were distributed by the English Defence League (EDL).

There is no evidence as yet as to the identity of those responsible.