STEPHEN Flynn has criticised Anas Sarwar for falling into line behind Keir Starmer and “hoping the public doesn’t notice”.

The SNP Westminster leader hit out at Sarwar for taking a different line on policies when Starmer isn’t in Scotland.

The UK Labour leader and Sarwar were speaking at an event in Rutherglen on Tuesday where they were taken to task by STV’s Colin Mackay over the divergence in policy between the two on key issues – like the two-child benefit cap.

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The two leaders were attempting to put on a show of unity, with Starmer insisting that the pair are "welded" together and “singing from the same hymn sheet”.

However, there have been a number of evident splits on the policy positions of the two leaders in recent weeks, with Sarwar stating that he would call for the two-child benefit to be scrapped, while Starmer has said he would not if his party wins the next General Election.

Sarwar also backed the Scottish Government’s gender reforms, while Starmer has said he would not support the introduction of self-ID for transgender people.

Despite this, both leaders tried to show unity during an event in Rutherglen, ahead of the crucial by-election due to be held in October.

In an STV news clip, Sarwar said his “view has not changed” and said Labour was right to oppose the two-child limit and campaign against it.

“But I’m also honest about accepting that we cannot go into an election making unfunded spending commitments,” he said.

“It would be wrong to say to people that we’re going to make promises we can’t keep.

“We do not know the economic mismanagement that we’re going to inherit, we don’t know the economic carnage that we’re going to inherit.”

Meanwhile, Starmer told journalists: “I think, I mean, you’ve heard Anas’s explanation about unfunded spending commitments, about being honest, that is exactly the way in which I’ve put the argument and would put the argument.

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“I think that only reinforces that we are singing from the same hymn sheet.”

However, Flynn and plenty of others were quick to criticise the so-called show of unity between the two party leaders.

The SNP MP said: “Want to know how a political branch office works?

“When your boss isn’t in town you tell the public that you will 'press' him to scrap a policy.

“But when your boss does come to visit, you just agree with him and hope the public don’t notice.”

The National: Flynn has been campaigning in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-electionFlynn has been campaigning in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election (Image: Colin Mearns)

The STV News clip has been viewed over 166k times in less than 24 hours, with plenty of criticism aimed at Sarwar and Starmer.

SNP MP John Nicolson wrote: “They’ll fund Trident to the tune of billions. Brexit? Here’s some more billions. The poor? We cannot promise to fund measures to reverse the rape clause / two-child benefit cap.

“What on earth is the point of Scottish Labour?”

Culture minister Christina McKelvie added: “I think Anas and his optional identity mark team in Scotland have been telt by Sir Starmer as always Labour in Scotland are as feeble as they’ve ever been.”

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South Lanarkshire SNP councillor Tony Gurney said: “Can’t fault this for accuracy on the two child cap given that it is @UKLabour policy, but pretending that there are two different parties with the option of different policies is wildly misleading.”

While Angus SNP councillor Lloyd Melville blasted: “Anas is no different to other Labour leaders. He does what he’s told by his boss in London. Confirmed here.”

One social media user branded Sarwar’s comments as a “humiliating climbdown”.

We previously reported how Starmer said during the campaign visit that Labour would impose the two-child benefit cap “more fairly” than the Tories.