THE First Minister has rejected BBC Scotland editor Sarah Smith’s claim that she “enjoys” making decisions about the coronavirus lockdown that differ from England’s.

On the BBC News at 10 last night, Smith reported on the document the Scottish Government is set to publish this week laying out its roadmap for adjusting lockdown measures from May 28.

Smith told viewers: “The Scottish Government says like all of the UK nations, they base their advice on expert advice they are given and that it has got nothing to do with politics, but it has been obvious that Nicola Sturgeon has enjoyed the opportunity to set her own lockdown rules and not have to follow what is happening in England and other parts of the UK.”

Online, people picked up the comment quickly – with Sturgeon responding to it herself this morning.

She tweeted: “Never in my entire political career have I ‘enjoyed’ anything less than this.

“My heart breaks every day for all those who have lost loved ones to this virus.”

Meanwhile Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop accused Smith of “editorialising” the report. Shortly after its broadcast she wrote: “Did Sarah Smith actually say Nicola Sturgeon was ‘enjoying’ making Covid decisions for Scotland? @BBCNews 10 0’clock not only is that disgraceful editorialising and plain wrong, it is also disrespectful for all those suffering because of Covid.”

And the SNP MP for East Renfrewshire expressed concern over the language. She wrote: “It strikes me that leading a country through a pandemic, doing your best to look after everyone in a terrible and unprecedented situation, with all the huge weight of responsibility that brings, will not be enjoyable.”

So far during pandemic 2105 coronavirus patients in Scotland have died, according to Scottish Government figures.

The Scottish Government, like the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland, opted to continue the lockdown in a stricter form than England when Boris Johnson announcement earlier this month that he would be relaxing some rules south of the Border.

While the Tory leader said people who can’t work from home in England work be “actively encouraged” back to work, in Scotland the First Minister has kept the lockdown in the same form since it was implemented on March 23 – although people are now allowed to exercise outside of their home more than once per day.

Last week Scottish Government polling found the vast majority (84%) of Scots were in favour of keeping the lockdown to help slow the spread of the virus.  

The rules, Sturgeon announced yesterday, are likely to change from May 28 with garden centres due to open again and people allowed to meet others from outside their household as long as they maintain social distancing.

The BBC has been approached for comment.