FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has responded to criticism that she didn’t wear a face mask at Prince Philip’s memorial service as “desperate deflection” from the Scottish Tories.

On the day that the Metropolitan Police revealed that 20 fixed penalty notices had been handed to staff in Number 10 amid the partygate revelations, a number of Scottish Tory MSPs and leader Douglas Ross took a pop at the First Minister.

She attended a memorial service for Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, and was pictured among the crowd without a face covering.

READ MORE: Len McCluskey urges 'stagnating' Labour to support indyref2

Sturgeon was beside her husband Peter Murrell and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss sat in the row in front, with SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford in the row behind Sturgeon with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

None of the politicians pictured were wearing masks, but the Scottish Tories singled out Sturgeon and said that she wouldn’t trust Scots to attend church services without wearing a mask.

Face-covering rules have been temporarily kept in place, and are now the only remaining Covid restriction, due to the high number of cases Scotland is currently seeing.

The National:

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell arriving at the service

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “Nicola Sturgeon used her own judgement to choose not to wear a mask at the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service this morning – yet she won’t trust Scots to do the same.

“Instead of treating the Scottish public like children, Nicola Sturgeon must allow Scots to take personal responsibility for their own safety.

READ MORE: Federalism unlikely to be accepted until indyref tested, constitution expert says

“I hope her choice today indicates that she will be scrapping facemask requirements in Scotland, tomorrow.”

Tory MP Andrew Bowie took to Twitter and wrote: “A lovely service for Prince Philip and good to see the Queen.

“Also good that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended. But interesting that she didn't wear a mask through the service, despite continuing to insist that churchgoers in Scotland must..”

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser also weighed in on social media, sharing a photograph from the service and writing: “One rule for them….”

Fellow Tory MSP Sue Webber retweeted a similar photograph, adding: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

A spokesperson for the First Minister fired back: “This is utterly desperate deflection from Douglas Ross on the day it emerged 20 fixed penalty fines are to be handed out as a result of the appalling rule breaches in Downing Street, as Boris Johnson and his colleagues partied while the rest of the country made huge sacrifices.”