DAVID Cameron's mother-in-law has angered Knutsford residents after her furniture store removed the Union Flag to fly its own branded flag ahead of its town centre opening.

OKA Direct, which is due to open inside the former Conservative Club on May 2, has sparked outrage on social media with users who are not happy with the plans.

OKA is part owned by The Viscoutness Annabel Astor, who is Samantha Cameron’s mother.

The flag is flying today, Thursday, due to Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday.

Posting on a community site ‘Remembering Knutsford’, resident Barbara Hughes asked for people’s opinions on the matter which caused a heated debate, to the point where the post was later deleted.

Trevor Jones of Princess Street, contacted the Guardian saying: “Why has our patriotic Union Jack flag that flies over the conservative office been taken down for a black OKA flag, disgraceful.”

However, OKA Direct responded to the complaints, saying that the proper procedures had been followed before the flag was raised.

"OKA raised a branded flag over our new store in Knutsford today to herald its imminent opening,” said a spokesperson for the furniture company. "We have been given permission to do so by all the necessary local authorities.

“We apologise for an upset that might have been caused to local residents and will look to mark important events and special occasions in the future by raising the Union Flag.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Cllr Stewart Gardiner, Cheshire East Council and Knutsford ward representative, said that OKA had not legally done anything wrong in terms of planning permission.

“Originally when we got the application, the flag was part of it," he said.

"In terms of flying a flag on a pole, the actual flag does not require permission, just the pole which was already there.

“It’s their flagpole and they can fly whatever they want on it.

"There were a number of objections suggestions that we had within the application but the flag itself, there’s nothing we can do about it.

“When it was the Conservative Club the flag was all moth eaten and old. If it was flying half-mast to honour my demise I wouldn’t have been too happy.”

Monckton Properties - part of Tatton Estate - are the owners of the building and have also said that they have no involvement in what OKA Direct decides to do with the flagpole.


ON the front page article of this week's paper, the Guardian incorrectly stated that OKA Direct, the new furniture store based in the former Conservative Club building, was owned by Samantha Cameron, the wife of MP David Cameron.

We would like to clarify that the company is in fact owned by Mrs Cameron’s mother, Annabel Astor.

We apologise for any upset this may have caused.