STEPHEN Flynn has hit back at Anas Sarwar after the Scottish Labour boss specifically named him while mounting a defence of party leader Keir Starmer.

The SNP Westminster leader spoke out after Sarwar leant on historic comments from former first minister Alex Salmond amid an ongoing row about Starmer’s praise for Margaret Thatcher.

Starmer, in an article for the Telegraph on Sunday, said Thatcher brought “meaningful change” to the UK by seeking to “drag Britain out of its stupor by setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism”.

The praise sparked anger from within and outwith the Labour Party.

READ MORE: Scots react to Keir Starmer's praise for Margaret Thatcher

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Sarwar savaged Thatcher’s legacy but defended the UK Labour leader.

He said: “I would remind opposition parties that it was Alex Salmond who [in 2008] said Scotland didn't have a problem with Thatcher's economic policies.

“Where were Humza Yousaf and Stephen Flynn then?”

“Well, I think I was at university,” Flynn said, when asked about Sarwar’s comment.

“I’ve also seen someone argue that I should reflect upon 1979, when I wasn't born,” the SNP MP went on.

“I think if that's the basis of their political argument, then they know that they've lost.”

The National: Sir Keir Starmer said at the Resolution Foundation conference that the EU is not a ‘silver bullet’ to boost growth (Maja Smiejkowska/PA)

Flynn said that the “reality is that we're dealing with a Labour Party leader who’s said that now, in the tail end of 2023”, adding: “I think that the outrage that has been seen towards Keir Starmer (above) since those comments is entirely justified.

“I think most folk will likely see through the fact that it's taken Anas Sarwar two days to come up with a response and that this response is so meek in itself.”

The MP for Aberdeen South was speaking to The National on the eve of the first anniversary since he took over as leader of the SNP group at Westminster when he made the comments.

As part of a longer interview, which will appear in The National on Wednesday, Flynn was asked if Thatcher’s legacy had impacted on him personally. He said: “I think it impacts upon every person in Scotland up to this very day.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer 'appeasing billionaire right-wing press' with Margaret Thatcher praise

“If you are a person in Scotland who's looking for a council house, the reality is that we're still dealing with the legacy of her decision to sell them off without building replacements.

“If you are someone who lives in a community which is suffering from poverty, the chances are that that's a consequence of decisions taken by her government.

“If you're someone who relies upon utility services and you're struggling with those at the moment, the reality is that they were privatised by Thatcher.

“Her legacy ripples right across society to this very day. I don't think anyone in Scotland underestimates that and I don't think anyone in Scotland really forgives her for the consequences of that.”

Flynn added: “There's obviously a generation of folk who had to live directly through her, who were the guinea pigs of the poll tax and so on and I think they're right to be angry that the Labour leader seems to hold Margaret Thatcher in high regard.”

The National: Among many disastrous actions, Margaret Thatcher used Scotland to experiment with the poll tax

Sarwar also sparked a response from Alba leader Alex Salmond after he brought up his historic comments.

Speaking to Iain Dale in 2008, Salmond had said: "The SNP has a strong social conscience, which is very Scottish in itself. One of the reasons Scotland didn't take to Lady Thatcher (above) was because of that.

“We didn't mind the economic side so much, but we didn't like the social side at all."

After Sarwar raised the comments on Tuesday, the former first minister accused him of acting like a “wee boy”.

“What I actually said way back in 2008 is that Scots couldn’t stomach the social policies of Thatcherism more than the economic ones. I know this because I was fighting the poll tax when Anas was in short trousers,” he went on.