A former MEP said the situation was "ridiculous" after Oxford City Council ordered her to remove an EU flag from outside her house.

Catherine Bearder put up the European Union flag for Europe Day on May 9 outside her Cowley home "then forgot to take it down".

But she received a letter from Oxford City Council telling her that “the European flag is not listed as one which may be flown” and planning consent was needed.

The government's list of flags that do not require consent used to include the the European flag, but it was removed from the list following Brexit.

READ MORE: Ribbon cutting as new post-office opens

The letter said: "I am writing because Oxford City Council has received a query about the European flag being flown at the above property.

(Image: Catherine Bearder)

"The control of flying the flags is governed by the Town and Country Planning  Regulations 2007."

It added: "As such, I must ask that the flag be removed until such a time that advertisement consent is granted to fly it."

She was told to remove it within seven days.

Ms Bearder, who was an MEP for South East England from 2009 until the UK withdrew from the European Union in 2020, described the letter as ‘hilarious’ and pointed out the city council itself also flies the EU flag from Oxford Town Hall on Europe Day.

Catherine Bearder with the flag Catherine Bearder with the flag (Image: Catherine Bearder) She said: “I haven’t taken it down, why would I take it down? 

"I’ve left the flag up there and I’m now calling it the Council of Europe flag. The two flags are identical so they can’t do anything about that."

READ MORE: Cowley branch line drop-in consultation event for residents

Satirical magazine Private Eye has published the story under its Jobsworths of the Week section, commenting: "This would be the same council that in 2020 flew the EU flag 'as a mark of Oxford's commitment to remaining an international and diverse city in the UK's post-EU future'."

Just over 70 per cent of voters in Oxford backed 'remain' with a turnout of 70 per cent in the Brexit referendum.

Ms Bearder said she was "proud to show my continued support for" the European Union.

"The city council flew it after Brexit and on Europe Day. There are loads of European flags flying," she said.

She added: "It’s a point of principle now. How ridiculous to spend officers’ time writing a letter to take down a flag that’s three foot by two foot.  

"It’s not threatening people in Stanley Road. I mean, who would complain?"

Oxford City Council has been contacted for comment.