DOUGLAS Ross has been rebuked by the First Minister after branding her “arrogant, elitist and patronising”.

The Scottish Tory leader was accused by Nicola Sturgeon of political opportunism after he jumped on comments she made at her coronavirus briefing.

The SNP leader was scathing at a press conference this week in response to claims her party fibbed about aiming to vaccinate 100% of 40 to 49-year-olds.

Sturgeon said that she “assumes a level of intelligence” when she issues statements, adding that she expects political opponents to use “common sense” and put her words into “context”.

The remarks were seized upon by the Scottish Tories, who claimed the First Minister was “treating people like fools”.

“Nicola Sturgeon claims she is communicating at a ‘level of intelligence’ us mere mortals just don’t understand,” the party commented.

Ross added: “Arrogant, elitist, patronising.

“This is not a First Minister who represents working class Scotland anymore.”

That prompted a direct response from the SNP leader.

She replied: “‘Working class’ Scotland understands perfectly.

"It’s opportunistic politicians who choose not to understand (because having a go at me/the SNP matters more to you than taking the right decisions in a pandemic) that I was referring to – and I have clearly touched some raw nerves!”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon hits back at critics over 'missed' over-40s vaccination target

The Scottish Tory leader continued the online spat, again accusing the First Minister of patronising working-class Scots.

He wrote: "My my. The SNP do not like being called out.But you’re right about one thing – when you talk down to normal working people across Scotland, that does touch raw nerves."

The row began when opposition parties attacked the Scottish Government for allegedly failing to meet a target to give second doses to the 40 to 49-year-olds by Monday (July 26).

Sturgeon, however, said that the target had in fact been to offer, not administer, the vaccine to everyone in the age group.

Reacting to the accusations at her briefing, she said: “When I communicate, and I apologise if this is an error, I kind of communicate at a level where I assume a certain level of intelligence on the part of people listening to me, because I think that’s justified, and I assume a certain ability to attach context and common sense to what I am saying.

“Now, I’ll go from there to taking what over the last couple of days has appeared to be an interpretation by opposition politicians and by some journalists that when I said what you read out there, what I actually meant was that I was giving a guarantee that by a certain date 100% of people would not just have been offered the vaccine but would have had the vaccine.

“Now all I would say is if that is genuinely what people, journalists, opposition politicians, thought I meant and that I had committed to that without compulsory vaccination, I’m genuinely really surprised that there wasn’t a clamour of questions, in fact I don’t think there was a single one, asking me how on earth I was going to deliver that commitment.

“How could I, without saying vaccination would be compulsory for every person with no exception, even if they’ve had the virus within four weeks which right now means you can’t get vaccinated, unless I was saying that, how could I have possibly guaranteed 100% uptake of a voluntary vaccination programme?”

As it stands, 91% of over-40s have been fully vaccinated in Scotland.

The First Minister added: “Everybody with any thought attached to it would have known, not least because it’s what all governments across the UK are doing, is that what I was committing to, which is what we have delivered, is making sure 100% had been offered an appointment for a vaccine.

“Short of compulsion, how could I have said that I was guaranteeing it would be 100% uptake.

“So what we have done is make sure we deliver on the commitment to appointments and we continue to work and get uptake levels as high as possible.

“They are already extraordinarily high, but particularly in the younger age groups we want them to get higher.”