SCOTTISH Government ministers have been criticised by Holyrood's presiding officer for a "leak" to the media of Nicola Sturgeon's Covid update statement.

Alison Johnstone expressed concerns to ministers prior to giving the go-ahead to the First Minister to deliver her statement to parliament on Tuesday.

Under parliamentary protocols, ministerial statements should be given to MSPs before the press. But a draft of the statement appeared in the media before being given to Holyrood.

"I am aware of details of today's Covid update have been reported in the media prior to be announced to the parliament," said Johnstone.

READ MORE: First Minister announces easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland

"I should not be reading in the media that they have seen a draft copy of the statement before it has been made to this parliament. This is extremely disappointing and disrespectful to this parliament and its elected members.

"I have spoken to the minister for parliamentary business about this and he has informed me that the government will be undertaking an inquiry into the leak.

"Now I will allow this statement to be delivered today as I cannot be assured that all elected members have seen the draft."

She added: "I ask for an assurance from the First Minister of her commitment to the place of this parliament being respected by her government and her commitment to a repeat of this situation being avoided."

The First Minister replied to say that she would give the presiding officer her assurance.

"Aside from disrespect to parliament, which is a very serious matter. Let me also assure you there is no benefit or advantage to the Scottish Government in the contents of these statements being known in advance of me delivering them to parliament.

"I have asked my officials to look into this matter and I can advise the chamber that the Scottish Government's chief information security officer will be undertaking appropriate inquiries to establish if there has been indeed a leak of some of the contents of this statement in advance of delivery."

Earlier it was reported that full stadia at football matches will be allowed from Monday under Covid changes announced by the First Minister.

READ MORE: Covid update LIVE: Nicola Sturgeon makes announcement at Holyrood

Sturgeon will scrap the attendance limits on live outdoor events that were imposed on large gatherings just after Christmas.

Organisers of events with more than 1000 people will be asked to check the vaccine passports of at least 50% of attendees, or at least 1000 people, whichever number is higher.

Producing a recent negative lateral flow test will be another option for gaining access to events.

The Scottish Government’s decision gives the green light for big crowds to attend SPFL fixtures within days.

This includes Celtic versus Hibs on Monday and the Rangers-Aberdeen tie on Tuesday.
The loosening of restrictions will also enable Six Nations rugby to go ahead in front of large crowds.