NICOLA Sturgeon has slapped down a LibDem MSP after he claimed the Scottish Government’s coronavirus restrictions are “simply wrong”.

The First Minister announced nationwide restrictions on visiting other households and a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants in a bid to curb a rising infection rate.

But North East representative Mike Rumbles took umbrage with the new rules during a Holyrood debate.

He asked: “Does the First Minister understand that forbidding people from visiting their family in other households like this cannot hold for long? And for the state to say that you cannot visit family at home but can meet in the pub is quite simply wrong?"

“No I don’t,” the SNP leader replied. “I think Mike Rumbles is probably on a different side of this debate about how we deal with Covid than I am. That’s fine, I suspect he’s much more of the libertarian, let people live normally and let it take its course ... I think that would be disastrous and fundamentally wrong.”

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After protestations from the LibDem, the First Minister apologised for being "intemperate", adding: “I didn’t mean to offend him in that way. I was being generalist and I shouldn’t have been. My apologies to him for that.”

She continued: “Let me get to the heart of this, it is a difficult balance to strike and I understand that.

“But we have to strike different balances. We have to protect people’s jobs as far as possible, particularly without the financial levers that would allow us to do more to mitigate that. And try as far as possible to suppress the spread.”

Sturgeon pointed out that people meeting up in houses was a key driver of transmission, and that different rules applied to pubs because the Scottish Government is able to put stricter regulations in place.

READ MORE: 'Staggeringly poor judgement': Anger as LibDem MSP went to Italy during lockdown

She concluded: “So these are not easy balances to strike, I get that, but we’re trying to do our best to get them as right as possible and protect people from a virus unfortunately that is infectious and dangerous.”

Last month, Rumbles was condemned for a “staggeringly poor judgement” after it was revealed he had spent eight weeks in Italy – while part of his North East Scotland constituency was forced back in lockdown.

The MSP stressed he has been working remotely, but apologised for missing a Holyrood committee meeting.