PLANS to remove Holyrood’s European flag after Brexit have been scrapped, sparking a row over political interference.

A vote called by SNP ministers overturned a decision by the Scottish Parliament’s governing body to permanently lower the flag, which is located in front of building, at 11pm on Friday.

MSPs voted by 63 to 54 to keep it in place, with one abstention.

But critics slammed the Scottish Government for wasting Holyrood’s time and setting a “dangerous precedent” by overruling the cross-party Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, which is supposed to be neutral.

It is the first time a decision of the SPCB, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of Holyrood, has been overturned by MSPs.

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said the SNP had “ensured a day of embarrassment for the Scottish Parliament”.

He said: “What must the rest of the world think when they see the party of government ensuring crucial parliamentary time is abused in this way?

“Major devolved portfolios like health, education and justice have descended into crisis under 13 years of SNP rule.

“We should be using this time to talk about how to get badly-delayed hospitals open, how to raise standards in schools and how to protect the number of police officers patrolling the streets.

“Instead, the day has been dominated by the nationalists’ childish hobby horses.

“Together with the subservient Greens, the behaviour by the SNP on these issues – from the First Minister down – has been a complete disgrace.”

His comments came after a bad-tempered debate in the Scottish Parliament.

Earlier, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "We need to give practical demonstration to the sense of loss that so many in this chamber and beyond will feel when we are no longer members of the European Union."

She said the vote gives the Scottish Parliament a choice on the issue, adding the SPCB's decision to remove the flag "does not reflect the views of Parliament as a whole".

During her speech, Ms Hyslop repeatedly rejected an intervention from Labour MSP Neil Findlay, which he could be heard describing as "a disgrace".

Mr Findlay raised a point of order with Deputy Presiding Officer Linda Fabiani, complaining backbenchers were not due to speak in the debate and so should be allowed to interject.

Ms Fabiani stepped in to chide MSPs for being "rude" in the chamber.

Scottish Tory MSP Liz Smith said the passing of the motion would set a dangerous precedent of the Government overruling the SPCB.

She said: "It is vital that there is full trust and confidence in the work of the corporate body to act in an impartial manner on behalf of all members, rather than on behalf of the political parties of the Parliament.

"The issue before this Parliament today is not what we think about the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, it's about whether members of this Parliament are prepared to undermine the corporate body.

"Are we well aware of the dangers that could provide?"

The debate also saw a clash between Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer and, Tory justice spokesman Liam Kerr and Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur.

After announcing his support for the motion, Mr Greer took an intervention from Mr Kerr in which the Tory claimed his request for a ministerial statement on the state of the police estate in Scotland had been refused due to "lack of time".

Mr Kerr asked the Green MSP if he feels "any shame or embarrassment" for supporting such a debate going ahead.

Mr Greer responded: "I'm sure Mr Kerr enjoyed that moment of self-indulgence but I'm going to come to the point of the hypocrisy of the Tories in a moment."

The Green MSP also hit out at the Liberal Democrats, who had indicated before Mr McArthur spoke that they would not support the Government motion.

He said: "The only real losers here are the Liberal Democrats - the party of Europe - who, unless they're about to make some significant U-turn, are set to vote with the Conservatives to take the flag down."

In response, Mr McArthur said: "It's a matter of deep regret to me that this Parliament is having this debate on this Government motion and has just been subjected to that contribution from Ross Greer.

"This motion is not about the Council of Europe or the European family of nations. This parliament has flown the flag since 2004 to reflect our membership of the EU - removing the flag does not make the parliament anti-European, just as leaving it up does not make us pro-European. The flags are a statement of legal fact not of political desire."

Holyrood's Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh confirmed the flag will stay up. He said: “The Parliament has resolved to direct the SPCB to continue to fly the European flag daily from Holyrood, and I can confirm the SPCB will amend its flag flying policy with immediate effect.”