SCOTLAND’S Tories were embroiled in a “fake news” scandal yesterday after they foamed at the mouth over a Scottish Government decision to fly the union flag less and the Lion Rampant more.

Members of Ruth Davidson’s party practically accused Nicola Sturgeon of treason, but were left reeling when it was revealed the Queen approved the decision eight years ago.

Across social media and on the front page of three national newspapers, it was reported that Sturgeon had ordered the Union flag be taken down from official government buildings.

READ MORE: This pathetic peddling of Union flag piffle is the worst example of ‘Union Jackery’

Tories lined up to accuse the SNP leader of being a petty flag obsessed nationalist, and demanded that she hoist the Union flag and learn to be more patriotic about the UK.

But according to the Scottish Government, all that had changed recently was that the practice informally agreed between the Monarch and former First Minister Alex Salmond has been formalised, with new written guidance prepared by a civil servant.

Before 2010, there were 15 occasions when the Union flag had been hoisted at key official and heritage sites, generally to mark royal birthdays and anniversaries.

That was changed just under eight years ago, so that it’s now only used on Remembrance Sunday, and the Lion Rampant used for the royal occasions instead.

In the Daily Mail Tory MSP Murdo Fraser thundered: “Refusing to fly the Union flag on the Queen’s birthday is something that may well appeal to the extreme elements of the nationalist movement.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader, called it a “tawdry attempt to sow more division”.

Taking to twitter, an exasperated Sturgeon explained: “Since the truth doesn’t seem to matter very much to some, let me set out the facts on this ridiculous story.

“There are two essential elements to this story. One, that @scotgov has recently changed its practice on what flags to fly from government buildings on Royal occasions; and two, that I ordered that change. Both are wrong.”

She continued: “Since 2010, the Lion Rampant has flown on royal occasions — entirely appropriately. Since the Lion Rampant is the Royal Banner, it is not clear to me why anyone would object to that. However, the key point is that there has been no change to this since 2010. Yes, the civil service recently decided to update the published guidance, but simply to ensure that it accurately reflected the long standing practice — the underlying policy has not changed. And why would it?

“As for the claim that I ordered the change, I have issued no instructions, orders, authorisations — or even expressed an opinion — about changing flag policy. The update of the guidance was an administrative step — albeit a sensible one — and not done at my request.”

Salmond too released a statement, calling the story “piffle”.

“Why have none of these Tory politicians and newspapers even noticed the flags flying in front of their eyes for the best part of a decade?” he asked.

The Tories seized on Sturgeon and Salmond’s rebuttal, accusing the SNP of not getting on with the day job.

“The SNP government should be more concerned with raising standards, not lowering flags. Dismal stuff,” Ruth Davidson tweeted.

Sturgeon replied pointing to UK government’s plans to establish a new unit to counter “fake news”: “Memo to PM’s new ‘fake news’ unit. The first line of defence against fake news is for your own politicians to stop peddling it.”