A LEADING county councillor has refuted claims that she said red, white and blue bunting will upset foreign tourists to Ledbury.

Cllr Liz Harvey has been reported as telling a recent Ledbury Town Council meeting that other colours should be considered to mark the Queen's 90th birthday "so as not to make people feel unsettled".

But now the deputy leader of the It's Our County party says she merely suggested a colourful but not exclusively Union flag bunting should be considered as the displays will remain up after Her Majesty's landmark birthday later this month.

"It was at the end of a long and difficult meeting, and perhaps I wasn't as succinct as I could have been," she said.

"My point was that the bunting previously used by the town council, in 2012, was left up for the rest of the season.

"If they are going to be up all the time, perhaps we can consider what colour they are going to be, instead of just going for red, white and blue.

"When you have it right through the town and it's not for a national event, it just looks a bit odd."

Cllr Harvey recalled a conversation she had with some Irish visitors to the town's poetry festival who spotted the union flag bunting.

"They were perplexed," she said.

"One asked me if Ledbury is the UK headquarters of the National Front."

The councillor says she is patriotic and didn't mean to cause offence.

"If flag bunting is to go up specifically for the Queen’s birthday or First World War events, I would support that wholeheartedly," she said.

"People say I was disrespectful to the war dead, but I didn't mean any offence. I am patriotic and would wave my flag when the Queen goes by.

"As I said, it was a five-minute thing at the end of a long meeting. I didn't mean to offend anyone and I'm sorry if offence has been taken."

But Conservative Cllr Emma Holton, who is also based in Ledbury, said members need to think before they speak.

"I'm shocked she came out with that," she said.

"I don't share those views at all. As councillors we need to think about our words before we say them. It puts It's Our County in a bad light and it puts Ledbury in a bad light."