RACIST abuse and deeply personal comments have been made against the Mayor of Penzance following the removal of a number of unauthorised Union Jack flags which were hoisted on Penzance Prom without permission.

Mayor Nicole Broadhurst said the flags, which were raised on the flagpoles usually reserved for the Golowan Festival celebrations, would have to be removed as they did not have permission from Cornwall.

They were put up following the UK’s signing of a trade deal with the EU on December 30 last year.

Following her statement on Twitter and Facebook the mayor, who is black, was met with a torrent of abuse, some of it racially motivated. Things got so bad with people turning up at her house that the police have installed a panic alarm.

The mayor told the Guardian newspaper:“It’s quite frightening to think they can do this to me and make me feel scared. It’s a vocal minority who want people to change how they run their homes and towns.

“When they came up to the house shouting and flashing their lights that was a bit of a shake-up for me and my husband. Now when a car pulls up, we’re both like, ‘what’s that?’ We’re living differently to the day before it happened.”

A statement on behalf of Penzance Council and local Cornwall Councillors Tim Dwelly, Jim McKenna and Cornelius Olivier was put up on the council website yesterday. 

It said: “Following the abuse a statement has been issued by Penzance Town Council: “The flags on Penzance Promenade are usually put up around the time of the Golowan Festival until the end of summer, helping to define our town’s positive spirit and bring joy to those enjoying our wonderful seafront.

“The flags which were put up on New Year’s Day have been removed because they were flown without the permission of Cornwall Council or Penzance Council.

“We do not fly flags during the winter months when the promenade is often exposed to gusting winds which could damage both the flags and flagpoles themselves.

“We are deeply saddened at the offensive and personal comments, including racist abuse, made in response to the removal of the flags; unity and community spirit are needed in these uncertain times rather than division and negativity.”

MP Derek Thomas said he hoped the issue over the flags on the prom in Penzance to mark the end of the Brexit transition period will soon become yesterday’s news.

"It is the case that the Penzance Mayor Nicole Broadhurst, and I differ on how the issue has been handled," he said "but it is important to state that I know Nicole to be a hard-working determined humorous lady who only takes a position on the town council out of commitment to Penzance and our community.

"I‘m grateful to Nicole for that. Serving as Penzance Mayor is a thankless task most of the time.

"I deeply regret that the flag issue has given rise to personal attacks on Nicole. 

"A great attribute of the UK (and Penzance is no exception) is that we can enjoy free robust debate out of mutual respect. It seems that not everyone signs up to this."