The Alliance Party has been inundated with “abusive and nasty” calls after 40,000 leaflets were distributed accusing the party of siding with nationalists to end the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall on most days.
An Alliance councillor said she was “disgusted” by the leaflets, distributed by DUP and UUP activists, ahead of a council meeting on its flag policy next month.
Maire Hendron accused those responsible for its circulation of “underhand tactics”.
“I cannot be clearer when I say the Alliance Party has not formed a pact with Sinn Fein or the SDLP over the future of the flag at Belfast City Hall,” she said.
“I am absolutely disgusted at the level some of my counterparts on Belfast City Council have stooped to on this matter.
“The Alliance Party has always had a policy of designated days when it comes to flying the Union flag over the City Hall.
“Not only is this the status quo at Stormont — where the DUP's MLAs make no complaint — but it is in line with the recommendation of the Equality Commission. To fly the flag as an important symbol on certain days makes it a stronger emblem for our city.”
She demanded an apology, but both the DUP and UUP defended the leaflets, printed in Alliance’s distinctive yellow colours.
They include the telephone numbers for its headquarters and east Belfast office and encourage people to call the party about its flag policy. They were posted through the doors of houses in Belfast over the past fortnight.
DUP councillor Christopher Stalford said the flying of the Union flag at Belfast City Hall was an emotive issue.