UNION flags have been taken down at an embattled Scottish shipyard after complaints from the Alba Party.

Ferguson Marine, which is at the centre of the so-called ferries fiasco, has denied they were influenced in their decision by the complaints of the party’s general secretary Chris McEleny who made repeated public calls for the removal of the flags.

The flags – which McEleny said replaced Saltires – were taken down on Tuesday with the Scottish Government-owned yard claiming it was because they had ripped after they were bought under a month ago.

A spokesperson for the Port Glasgow yard said Saltires only flew on days where ferries were launched.

Speaking to The National, McEleny said: “Well, they’ll never have flown, then.”

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The Inverclyde site is home to the Glen Sannox and MV 802 – two ferries which have caused a wave of political controversy because of delays and a rising bill to the taxpayer.

Ferguson Marine CEO David Tydeman last month confirmed further delays to the MV 802, which is now expected to be built around six years late, with the Glen Sannox to be delivered around five years overdue.

McEleny had previously demanded the Union flags were removed from the site because he said the British state had nothing to do with the yard.

He said last month: “Nothing can symbolise the Scottish Government’s failure of the yard, its workforce and the people of Scotland greater than the absurdity that it sits by and allows the management to remove a Saltire and replace it with a Union Jack.

“The British government hasn't put a penny into the yard and Unionist politicians use it as a stick to attack the Scottish Government.

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“I have asked [Deputy First Minister John] Swinney to explain this situation and he should intervene immediately to have the Union Jack removed and the Saltire it replaced reinstated.”

A spokesperson for Ferguson Marine said: “Flags (Saltire and Union flag) were bought to mark the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and period of mourning.

“Both were removed [on Tuesday] because they had ripped. 

“New company-branded flags are being installed [and] put up soon. Timing with social media posts is purely coincidental.

“Also, there were no Saltires previously; only on vessel launch days [or] events.”