THE BBC has received 4500 complaints after Scotland editor Sarah Smith said the First Minister “enjoyed” setting different lockdown rules to Westminster’s.

The segment, broadcast on the News at Ten, is the most complained about item across the corporation’s TV and radio platforms this year.

A total of 4541 complaints were lodged from viewers who said the comments were unduly biased against Nicola Sturgeon.

During the report on May 18, Smith said it “has been obvious that Nicola Sturgeon has enjoyed the opportunity to set her own lockdown rules” rather than follow Boris Johnson’s lead.

The First Minister earlier rejected the claims, tweeting: “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.”

But Smith has since said her use of the word was a “mistake” and she had intended to say “embraced”.

She added: “For the avoidance of any doubt. I am sorry that by mistake I said on the news last night that @NicolaSturgeon was ‘enjoying the opportunity’ to set lockdown policy in Scotland. That was not what I meant to say and I apologise to her for my error.”

READ MORE: Sarah Smith sorry for report on Nicola Sturgeon's virus strategy

Speaking earlier on the BBC Six O’Clock News about Scotland’s “route map” out of lockdown, Smith used the word “embraced” rather than “enjoyed”.

Responding to the reporter’s apology, Sturgeon tweed: “I’ve made clear my view on this report. I’m not ‘enjoying’ or ‘embracing’ an ‘opportunity’. I’m just doing what I judge best in very difficult circumstances.

“That said, I understand the scrutiny that comes with it and accept Sarah’s clarification. For me, the matter is closed.”

The BBC commented: “Following complaints received on remarks by Sarah Smith, Sarah has since clarified her remarks, acknowledged where there were errors and has apologised to the First Minister, who has accepted those clarifications and has indicated that she regards the matter as now closed.”