A PATRIOTIC man has proclaimed he is “not a bigot” after being repeatedly attacked over his Union Flag doormat.

Ash Middleton, who has spent the last four years in America, proudly displays the “retro cool” doormat outside his home in Brighton.

But after returning from the States, he is shocked that people have confronted him as a potential BNP member for displaying the “threatening” flag.

The 46-year-old was left “physically shaking” after one clash where he was berated for flying a flag “associated with the Ukip and fascism”.

Mr Middleton said: “They assume that anybody showing that flag is a Leave bigot, has fascist tendencies, or is a lager lout who loves Nigel Farage.

“What people need to do is look beyond that assumption as I’m none of those things.”

The Union Flag is the national flag of the United Kingdom.

It was adopted in 1801 and is the combination of English, Scottish and Irish flags.

Mr Middleton has been confronted three times by people who were upset with the doormat.

They believed it was a symbol of the far right and fascism.

He said the idea of him being far right was “ridiculous”.

Mr Middleton supports the Green Party, voted to stay in the European Union and has an Italian boyfriend.

The change management specialist said the encounters had left him “heartbroken”. He said: “For me, it’s an iconic symbol of being British – it makes me feel at home.

“I remember watching Charles and Diana’s wedding with my mum, who has passed away. She was a child in the Second World War and my parents grew up proud of Britain.

“The flag pushed back the Nazis.

“Some liberals forget how they became allowed to be liberal.”

Mr Middleton believes the UK has become a “tinderbox” following Brexit.

And believes the far right are beginning to “commandeer our national identity”.

He said: “Are you happy to let these thugs and bigots take possession and abuse our symbols of national pride and subsume them into their propaganda? Or should we stand up and take them back?”

Last year, a cafe in Romford was branded racist after it placed tiny Union Jack flags on its food. Customers complained when they spotted the decorations on sandwiches and toast.