"REGRETTABLE and ridiculous" – Nicola Sturgeon has slammed Rishi Sunak for using the Covid-19 crisis to make "nonsense" political arguments.

Unveiling his emergency mini-Budget earlier this week, the Chancellor suggested Scotland would have struggled to cope outside the Union.

He told MPs the pandemic had “highlighted the special bond which holds our country together.", adding: “Millions of people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been protected by the UK Government’s economic interventions – and they will be supported by today’s plan for jobs.

“No nationalist can ignore the undeniable truth — this help has only been possible because we are a United Kingdom.”

Today Nicola Sturgeon called that a "nonsense argument" and criticised the Chancellor for making "overtly political" arguments during a time of crisis.

Speaking live on The Andrew Marr Show, she said: "Fundamentally, I don't think he's right to be making overtly political points about this.

"I've tried throughout this not to do that because I think what we're dealing with is too important to do that. But it's a nonsense argument."

Sturgeon said this is because "smaller countries all over" have had to make their own decisions on how to handle the pandemic, with some having "to some respects had bigger fiscal stimulus" than the UK.

She went on: "The issue here, right now, is that he holds the borrowing powers – and remember, this is borrowed money and the people of Scotland will play their part in repaying that borrowing, just as people elsewhere in the UK [will].

"It's a limitation on the powers right now of the Scottish Government that mean we have to rely on the Treasury and if he wants to give more flexibility, which we've been asking for, for the Scottish Government around borrowing in particular, then we can do more even than we're doing right now.

"These kinds of nonsense points, frankly, I think are a bit regrettable and ridiculous, particularly given the severity of what we face."

When asked about her plan for indyref2, Sturgeon said "everybody knows" she wants Scotland to regain its sovereignty.

She said she would remain focused on the pandemic until the danger has passed but said poll results showing increased support for independence may provide "a lesson" for the SNP, stating: "When I and the SNP have not been talking about independence all the time but getting on with the job of autonomous decision-making and trying to take the right decisions to get the country through a crisis, support for independence seems to have increased, so maybe there's a bit of a lesson there about show, not tell."

She went on: "People across Scotland right now would expect me to have my entire focus on leading the country through the biggest crisis that any of us have ever experienced, and that's what I'm going to continue to do.

"If in the process of doing that – it's not my intention – that people can see the benefits of autonomous decision making, perhaps there is a lesson there."