THERESA May is “the only leader in living memory who has tried to fall on her own sword and managed to miss”, Nicola Sturgeon said during a fiery First Minister’s Questions.

She clashed with Tory interim leader Jackson Carlaw yesterday as he accused the SNP of failing to vote for its own Brexit policies due to single-mindedness on independence.

Carlaw opened: “Isn’t it the case that what Scotland saw yet again yesterday was that when push comes to shove, for the SNP, it’s not about finding a solution to Brexit, it’s about pursuing their independence obsession?”

The First Minister rejected his attack, pointing to Scotland Secretary David Mundell abstaining on every possible Brexit presented in indicative votes in the House of Commons two days ago.

She said that the SNP policy had been single market and customs union membership, which was not on offer.

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Carlaw continued: “There was no principle in the way the SNP voted. And what I saw in contrast was a Prime Minister prepared to set aside her own premiership to secure a deal. A deal which will be good for Scotland and will be good for the UK.”

The Tory MSP’s comment about May sparked laughter from the rest of Holyrood. Sturgeon hit back: “It’s traditional in politics for leaders to say to colleagues, if you don’t back me on an issue of such importance, I might have to resign. Not in the Tories though, Theresa May’s position is that ‘if you don’t back me, I’ll stay’.

“Theresa May must be the only leader in living memory who has tried to fall on her own sword and has managed to miss.”

Both Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and Scottish Greens parliamentary co-leader Alison Johnstone asked about child poverty.

It came as official figures confirmed a 10,000 increase in the number of children living in poverty.

They called for the Scottish Government to bring forward plans an income supplement scheduled for 2022.

Leonard also invited Sturgeon to join him in condemning the impact of Tory austerity, leaving people having to choose between paying their bills or feeding the children – as well as in urging May to go.

Sturgeon agreed, adding: “I look back to 2014, and I reflect on the fact that if Labour hadn’t teamed up with the Tories to stop Scotland becoming independent, we wouldn’t have had a Tory prime minister for these last few years.”

Referencing the pledge of an income supplement for low-paid families, Leonard said: “Children in poverty really can’t wait until 2022 so First Minister, can you tell us why are you making children wait?”

The First Minister said that while child poverty was too high in Scotland, it was lower than in England or Labour-run Wales, and that their income supplement would lift the maximum number of children out of poverty.

Tory MSP Michelle Ballantyne also raised child poverty, asking Sturgeon whether she believed “the introduction of an income supplement would experience the economic shock factors, the volatility of the economy”, and how that would be managed.

Sturgeon said she could not understand the question, but that Ballantyne should “reflect” on her party’s Westminster policies before raising the issue of child poverty.