'The whole thing took off and I couldn't believe it' says SDLP MLA on flag tweet

Union flag boxes
Union flag boxes

Mid Ulster SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone says he was "surprised" by the reaction on social media to his picture of strawberries in Union flag boxes taken in a Tesco store.

Mr McGlone had tweeted: “What’s with all this flag stuff on Tesco products? Head of marketing needs revision class,” accompanied by a smilely emoji winking.

Patsy McGlone MLA.

Patsy McGlone MLA.

The Tweet sparked a massive response with almost 2,500 people posting comments and over 400 likes, many critical of his remark.

One replied: "If you are in Northern Ireland you are in the UK. If you don't like our flag move to Ireland."

Another tweeted: "Kent strawberries are not only the sweetest and most delicious strawberry grown in Britain, the French can smell them on a warm day. They go well with British champagne or a glass of Somerset cider or in a nice devon cream tea. Our home grown choice is endless."

Mr McGlone, the SDLP's Argiculture spokesperson, explained that when he saw the Union flag boxes he simply thought it was "a bit of John Bull" by Tesco and they were trying to "make a bit money" on the back of the Brexit referendum result.

"A lot of the comments came from England who are not aware of our local sensitivities here," he said. "The whole thing took off and I could not believe it."

He said his own personal view is that the fewer flags displayed the better.

"It seemed to spiral off from the Brexiters to the Scottish Independent people posting comments," he added.

"Never thought anything like that was going to come of it."