PATRICK Harvie has said those who targeted him with “vile abuse” in the wake of his condolence message to King Charles should “grow up”.

The Scottish Greens co-leader told the new monarch that life isn’t “rooted in status or title” during a motion where party leaders paid tribute to the Queen in the Scottish Parliament.

After the speech, in which he detailed the progress witnessed by Queen Elizabeth during her 70-year reign, viewers were split. Some called Harvie an “embarrassment” while others praised him for “speaking truth to power”.

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"I've had people stop me in the street saying well done"

Speaking to The National, Harvie appeared unfazed by the comments as he explained he’d had a different reaction from people “in the real world”.

He said: “Pretty much everybody who’s spoken to me in the real world has been complimentary and said that they liked the speech, I had several people in the chamber afterwards, coming up and praising it.

“And I’ve had people stop me in the street saying well done.

“I think with social media it acts as a bit of an echo chamber and it amplifies lots of polarised reactions, but I think also it allows people to hear the things that they want to hear.

“People who’ve already decided that they’re going to be hostile to, whether it’s to the Greens or to people who aren’t huge fans of the monarchy in general, people who have decided to be hostile will hear the things that they want to hear.

“I’ve seen people on social media and some emailing me saying how dare I not offer condolences when I very explicitly did. You know, I used those words.”

Harvie indeed paid condolences on behalf of the Scottish Greens “to her son, to all of his family, and to all those whose lives she touched” during the September 12 motion.

Row over "God Save the King"

The Scottish Greens leader added that he also faced criticism online for not saying “God save the King” at the end of his speech, and pointed out he isn’t religious.

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“Never mind how I feel about the monarchy, I wouldn’t pretend that I believed in a religion,” he added.

“I would like to think most people who genuinely seriously are religious wouldn’t want someone to have to pretend to be religious out of social embarrassment.

“There are some people who will just react in this extreme way and social media quite often makes that worse. Some of the people who are accusing me of being disrespectful are using some pretty vile, abusive language themselves, so frankly, some of them just need to grow up a bit.”

Harvie calls for space to discuss monarchy

In the days following the Queen’s death, King Charles was proclaimed monarch at ceremonies all across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The National: Protesters in Edinburgh held up white paper to demonstrate against a crackdown on anti-monarchy sentiment while the Queen's coffin lay in St Giles cathedralProtesters in Edinburgh held up white paper to demonstrate against a crackdown on anti-monarchy sentiment while the Queen's coffin lay in St Giles cathedral (Image: File photo.)

Several anti-monarchy protesters were subsequently arrested and charged, while Police Scotland came under fire for its approach to any dissent at the event and in the following days.

Harvie, who believes the Scottish public should choose their head of state in the wake of independence, said the Queen’s death had raised “important questions” for those who favour a republic in how they express themselves amid national mourning.

He explained: “It should be one of sympathy for someone who’s lost a loved one, absolutely, but it should not be the case that there is simply no space in this instant transition to a new hereditary monarch, a new person becoming King, that it shouldn’t be the case that there is no space for discussion about that, no space for the ability to even express opposition to it.

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“Even if that opposition is a minority view in our society, and I don’t know, that’s never been tested in a vote, but even if it is a minority view it’s allowed to be expressed, and it should be expressed in respectful terms. I think that’s what we’ve always tried to do.

“We will continue to, I think, strike the balance there.

“And there’s another round of all of this blanket coverage next year with the coronation then, that will be I think more important to set out that our reaction to that is about the institution rather than about an individual who has sadly died.”

The National asked Harvie if he felt there had been a conflation between the Queen’s death and King Charles’s swift ascension to the throne, after Labour leader Keir Starmer told protesters they should be “respectful” during the mourning period.

The National: King Charles was proclaimed the new monarch at ceremonies in Edinburgh and across the UKKing Charles was proclaimed the new monarch at ceremonies in Edinburgh and across the UK (Image: PA)

He said: “It’s part of the purpose, of course, of having a handover in this way. You’re doing it in a moment of shock and grief and where people who had strong feelings of affection for the Queen are in that frame of mind.

“Having the handover instantly in that context is partly about closing down the potential for the discussion and debate about it.

“That’s part of the objective and there are those who do, as I said in the speech, there are others who do place high value on permanence and stability and tradition, and that’s why they think of the monarchy as a successful institution.

“I think human progress needs to continue and an overly strong attachment to permanence and tradition are unhelpful.”

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Harvie also voiced concerns over the UK Government’s energy plan, which was announced hours before the death of the Queen.

He said there should have been “urgency” in getting support in place before winter.

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Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg did not back household support, but instead opted to extend oil and gas licenses and lift the fracking ban.

He added: “I absolutely respect people’s need to express their grief, those who feel it in this way, this is right for them.

“Even if this was an elected head of state you would expect some degree of state mourning if they died in office, you would expect some degree of the country pausing to take a breath on something as shocking as that, but you would also expect the important actions of government in the face of an emergency situation to continue.”