In 2015, a movement was launched by Lieutenant Commander George Mac Kenzie RNR to have the Scottish Ensign officially recognised, on the basis that the Merchant Shipping Act of 1995 permits Her Majesty the Queen in Council or a Secretary of State to approve “any colours consisting of the Red Ensign defaced or modified”.
Supporters cited the example of The States of Jersey, who in 2010 were permitted to use a "voluntary of informal" red ensign, adorned with a Plantagenet crown.
As a result, the Blue Ensign was used throughout the Empire and thus became the model for the flags used by a number of colonies and former colonies in the British Empire.
At the same time, the red ensign (which was designated in 1864 as the flag for merchant shipping) was used by merchantmen of those colonies which obtained an Admiralty warrant.
The white and blue ensigns are not mentioned in this Order; evidently the red ensign was alone regarded as the legal ensign of Great Britain and the others as merely variations of it for tactical purposes.
In 1707, Acts of Union, ratifying the Treaty of Union that had been agreed the previous year, were passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland, thereby uniting the Kingdom of Scotland with the Kingdom of England (which included the Principality of Wales) into a new state with the name "Kingdom of Great Britain".
The Red Ensign or "Red Duster" is the civil ensign of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
It is one of the British ensigns, and it is used either plain, or adorned/embellished with a badge or other emblem in the bottom right quarter.
Most British colonies needed to use the blue ensign due to the fact that most had government vessels; some colonies, such as South Australia, had warships.
It is the flag flown by British merchant or passenger ships since 1707.
Prior to 1707, an English red ensign and a Scottish red ensign were flown by the English and Scottish Royal navies respectively.
It is probable that the cross-saltire was adopted by the Scots as a national ensign at a very early period, but there seems no direct evidence of this before the fourteenth century.
The earliest Scottish records were lost at sea in the ship that was sent to return them to that country, whence they had been carried off, with the "Stone of Destiny", by King Edward I (1239-1307, reigned 1272-1307).
This resulted in a new red ensign which placed the first Union Flag in the first quarter.