STEPHEN Flynn has criticised the "dregs of society who attack" Mhairi Black as he said he is “conflicted” over her standing down as an SNP MP at the next election.

The party’s Westminster leader said his “rockstar” colleague was a “phenomenal” talent, but he is actually “really happy” she is leaving because of how “dysfunctional” the House of Commons is as a workplace.

He added he agreed with Black's description of Westminster being "toxic" and was not surprised the place had taken its toll on her. 

He said: “I was aware of what Mhairi was intending to do, but I'm a wee bit conflicted because on a political level, she was phenomenal.

“Mhairi, when it comes to politics, is a rockstar and her ability to connect with the public I think is unmatched.

READ MORE: Scottish Government backs decriminalisation of personal drug use

“But on a personal level, I'm actually really happy for her because she's been through a lot and I want the people that I like and know to be happy in life, and I genuinely think she's going to be a happier person not being in Westminster.

Asked whether Mhairi’s assessment of Westminster as ‘toxic’ resonated with him, Flynn replied: “Yeah, I think so. Westminster is really hard to describe to people who don't work in that environment.

“It's unlike anything I could possibly imagine. I often say that I'd love to pick up all the people of Scotland and get them one by one to spend a week in Westminster, to realise quite how dysfunctional the place is, and the nature of everything that happens there is just absurd.

“But I guess it's more than that for Mhairi as well. Mhairi Black opens her mouth and says something and no matter how good it is, or how relevant it is, there's a cohort of the dregs of society who just attack her and that takes its toll on individuals.

“Society needs to reflect on that and people need to be sitting up and thinking, why is one of the most popular faces in UK, not just Scottish politics, walking away from Westminster?”

Black, who has been the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South since 2015, told the same podcast she would be looking to leave the London parliament earlier this week.

READ MORE: Scottish Rugby: Fans furious at 'divisive' Ruth Davidson joining board

She said Westminster was a "toxic workplace", sparking speculation that she may look to win a seat at Holyrood in the 2026 Scottish elections.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The world needs more Mhairi Blacks in politics, not fewer. I hope we will see her in @ScotParl in future."

Asked why she had made the decision, Black said: "Honestly, because I'm tired is a big part of it. And the thing that makes me tired is Westminster.”

On whether he wanted to continue working at Westminster, Flynn said: “I want to continue for now because we've got a big challenge on our hands.

“There's been well documented issues within the party. And you know, where there is a challenge, there's an opportunity, and I see an opportunity for us to really drive home that journey to independence.

“What attracts me to that is being the person who walks past the statues outside the chamber as SNP MPs leave, then depart Westminster for good. That's a big motivating factor for me.”