ANGER erupted last night over “ridiculous” orders for town halls to fly the Union Jack on Prince Andrew’s birthday.
Critics accused officials of “putting stuffy history in front of public opinion”.
An email was sent to councils by civil servant Matt Stevenson — private secretary to Whitehall bigwig Dame Melanie Dawes — reminding them to fly the flag for the Prince on February 19.
Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties last year after a TV interview over his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and claims — which he denies — that he forced teenager Virginia Roberts to have sex.
Last night Labour MPs blasted the flag order.
Deputy leadership candidate Ian Murray said: “This protocol has to be binned given the allegations against the Prince.”
MP Wes Streeting added: “This would be wholly inappropriate. It should be knocked on the head immediately.”
A council source ranted: “Making this gesture while there is a cloud hanging over the Duke is hugely insulting to Epstein’s victims and those wanting answers.”
Another insider added: “It seems ridiculous.
“The Government doesn’t appear to be noticing what has happened recently, or factoring in the mood of the nation.”
Andrew is on an official list of royals whose birthdays should be marked by having the flag flying on government buildings.