Troops serving in Northern Ireland have been banned from wearing the Union flag on their uniforms after claims that it has offended nationalists. The ban has infuriated soldiers posted to Ulster after returning from operational duty in Iraq, where the wearing of the badge is mandatory. Lt Gen Philip Trousdell, General Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, personally decided that it was inappropriate for soldiers serving in Ulster to wear an emblem that he considered "too emotive in the political climate". Lt Gen Trousdell issued the order after complaints from nationalists who claimed that the badge was "provocative". The ruling has angered senior officers, soldiers and MPs. One soldier recently back from Iraq said his battalion was proud to wear the Union flag. Sgt G Dalgliesh, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers wrote: "Now, as we embark on a two-year posting in Northern Ireland, we have to take them off. It's a disgrace."