NICOLA Sturgeon has hit out at senior Scottish Tories for trying to “shoehorn” political debate into the coronavirus crisis.

In a video posted on Twitter, the First Minister cleared up claims that she plans to ask for the border between Scotland and England to be closed if the UK Government tries to prematurely end the lockdown.

She said: “Anybody who is trying to use the immediate challenges we face in tackling this virus, or to twist what I say in relation to some of these issues to make any kind of pre-existing, political or constitutional point, will not find me willing to play ball. Rigorous scrutiny of the decisions @scotgov is taking is both appropriate and essential – but simply trying to shoehorn these issues into our pre-existing political debates and positions doesn’t help tackle the virus.”

READ MORE: WATCH: FM's message to Tories trying to score political points

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Sturgeon said she would diverge from the four-nation approach to tackling the coronavirus if the advice she received suggested doing so would “protect the population”.

Asked if she would consider closing the border between Scotland and England, Sturgeon replied: “I don’t have the power to close borders, but these are discussions of course we want to continue to have with the UK Government.

“And on this question of will Scotland do things differently, not for the sake of it we won’t, only if the evidence and our judgment tells us that that is necessary. That means if – it is an if, I’m not saying that we’re likely to get into this territory – if the UK Government took decisions that I thought were premature in terms of coming out of the lockdown then clearly I would want to make sure that Scotland did what I judged was best to protect the population.”

Newspapers like The Sun, The Metro and The Express as well as senior Scottish Tories interpreted these comments as Sturgeon having a plan to shut the border.

Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw and former Scottish Secretary David Mundell claimed there is no border between Scotland and England.

READ MORE: Jackson Carlaw says 'there is no border' between Scotland and England

Carlaw said it was “ridiculous” for the First Minister to ask for the border to be closed, tweeting: “It is ridiculous to suggest Nicola Sturgeon could close the border. There is no border – we are one United Kingdom.”

He received criticism for his comments on Twitter.

Gerry Hassan said: “Might not be the border independence supporters desire but it is a legal, fiscal and historic border and one with big political differences on either side.”

SNP MSP Stewart Stevenson added: “There are borders everywhere. Between Yorkshire and Lancashire. Between Kent and Surrey. Between Perthshire and Angus. Policies and practices change at borders. Are the Tories saying they shouldn’t?”