STEPHEN Flynn has hit back at a Tory MSP after she criticised him for not singing the national anthem at the Remembrance Sunday service in London.

Flynn said he was “astonished” at the level of abuse he received for not joining in with God Save the King, while people falsely claimed he held his wreath “upside down”.

The criticism included a tweet from deputy Scottish Tory leader Meghan Gallacher suggesting he “fell short” in his duty as SNP Westminster leader by refusing to sing the anthem.

Insisting he was being respectful to the head of state by standing in silence, Flynn hit back at her on the BBC’s Podlitical, saying he felt she was telling him to “practice her views”.

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He told the programme: “I did see her [Gallacher’s] comments at the time and if I read them correctly it was ‘you can have your views but practice mine instead’.

“I’m just grateful for the fact we live in a society where we’re allowed to have different views and exercise them in a peaceful way, and in a responsible and sensible way.

“I chose to stand in silence and be respectful of the King. He’s the head of state and I would never seek to do anything to try and be disrespectful, especially on a day like that. It means a lot to me like it does to everyone else.”

The full tweet from Gallacher said: “Stephen Flynn is entitled to his republican views but as Westminster leader of the SNP he has a duty to show respect to our head of state and to all nations and anthems. By refusing to join in with the national anthem, especially at a service to honour those who have given their lives to this country, he has fallen shamefully short of this.”

Flynn said he was thinking of his late grandad during the service at the Cenotaph as he served in the Second World War. As he stepped back after laying a wreath on behalf of the SNP and Plaid Cymru, he told the podcast he said to himself “that was for you grandad”.

The Aberdeen South MP was also criticised for holding a wreath “upside down”. He was actually holding a wreath produced in Scotland which is markedly different to those in England.

Conservative pundit Sophie Corcoran said at the time: “Stephen Flynn, the Westminster leader of the SNP, held his wreath upside down – looked totally unbothered and refused to sing the national anthem. We do not need disrespectful disgraces like this in politics.”

Flynn added: “I was just astonished at it [the abuse he got]. Everyone who’s anyone who’s ever been at Remembrance services in Scotland knows what the Scottish poppy wreath looks like.

“I guess in that regard I was just a bit surprised at publications who got that so badly wrong.

“The level of abuse at the moment for politicians is off the scale. Some of the phone calls and emails my office staff had to deal with on the back of that were massively over the top.”