Market Traders 'Faced St George's Rose Ban' in Run-Up to U.K. Local Elections

23/04/2012_Red Rose
A red rose on St George's day, April 23, 2012. Market traders claim a local council attempted to ban them handing out the flowers. Kevin Coombs/Reuters

Updated | Market traders in Stockport, northern England, claim officials attempted to ban them from handing out traditional red roses on the national St George's day holiday.

Stallholders at the local market, who traditionally hand out the flowers on April 23, told the BBC they were warned that the gifts could breach election rules. The red rose serves as the logo of Britain's opposition Labour party, which will be contesting local elections across the U.K. in early May.

The council, led by the rival Liberal Democrat party, has reportedly U-turned following complaints and will allow the practice to go ahead.

John O'Mara, from the Stockport branch of the National Market Traders' Federation (NMTF), said the red roses were "a way of saying thank you to our customers for supporting us through the market year".

A council spokesperson said: "The council hopes that the promotion is very successful and would encourage people across the borough to make use of Stockport Market on St George's Day and throughout the year."

A statement subsequently emailed to Newsweek from a council spokesperson read:

"The officer and political leadership of Stockport Council is fully supportive of market traders handing out red roses to celebrate St George's Day at Stockport Market.

"After an initial misunderstanding between Council officers and market traders the issue has now been resolved. In the period running up to an election, the Council has to be especially careful about the use of its resources for publicity and therefore careful checks were made.

"The Council will always try to support initiatives from businesses in the market place and the surrounding area which try to improve the use and perception of this beautiful part of our town. The Council hopes that the promotion is very successful and would encourage people across the borough to make use of Stockport Market on St George's Day and throughout the year."

This piece was updated to add an additional statement from the council.

Market Traders 'Faced St George's Rose Ban' in Run-Up to U.K. Local Elections | World