ANAS Sarwar interrupted as leaders responded to questions about independence to “remind” them about the global Covid-19 pandemic last night.

During Channel 4’s “Next Leader of Scotland” debate, which was the first to be shown UK-wide during the election campaigns, moderator Krishnan Guru-Murthy put questions about the constitution to the panel.

The Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour’s Sarwar, Scottish LibDems chief Willie Rennie, SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon and Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie all participated in the short 45-minute discussion.

As Guru-Murthy pressed Sturgeon on what independence would mean for the Border between Scotland and England, she and Ross got into a heated exchange.

As this went on, Sarwar interrupted three times. On the first occasion he said: “We are still in a pandemic Krishnan, I’d just remind people.”

He repeated: “We are still in a pandemic Krishnan.”

Finally, he said: “We are still in a pandemic Krishnan. I would just remind people on the stage.”

Sturgeon, who has led the country through the crisis, replied: “I don’t need reminding of that Anas. I don’t need reminding of that.”

Sarwar insisted she did and argued the debate had been dominated by “politicians bickering in a studio” – although nearly every question put to the panel by the moderator was about independence. The Scottish Labour leader asked if people would prefer to see him work with other leaders to tackle issues like child poverty.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon keeps her cool despite rantings from Douglas Ross at Channel 4 debate

Guru-Murthy cut in: “The trouble is when you say you want to talk about other policies – the Institute for Fiscal Studies say your manifesto doesn’t add up … it says you’re not honest about the tax rises or the cuts you would need to bring in for all your aspirations …”

The debate was dominated by the topic of independence, with the pro-independence participants saying denying another referendum if there is a majority of MSPs in favour of it would push more people to support Yes.

Harvie said: “The UK simply saying ‘no you can’t, no you can’t, no you can’t’ will guarantee more and more people saying ‘yes we will’.”