THE First Minister has fired back at Richard Leonard after he took her to task for the rise in food bank usage.

Speaking during today’s FMQs, Nicola Sturgeon fired back at the Scottish Labour leader after he took her to task for the increase.

After a tepid opening exchange between the First Minister and Jackson Carlaw on education, in which the word independence was conspicuous by its absence, Richard Leonard turned the attention to food banks.

He asked Sturgeon to explain what her priorities are given that, according to the latest figures, food bank usage in Scotland has increased yet she used her speech in Parliament yesterday to set out the next steps for independence.

To cheers and applause from the SNP benches, a curt Sturgeon replied: “What it says about my priorities is I want the powers in this Parliament to tackle child poverty. I’m not sure what it says about Richard Leonard’s priorities that he wants to leave those powers in the hands of the Conservatives.”

The noise from the benches forced Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh to intervene to ask MSPs to keep the noise down, referencing an earlier debate about setting an example to children.

During his reply, Leonard conceded that "a lot of this lies at the door of the Tory government".

"But you have the powers," he added.

More to follow...