HOLYROOD erupted on Thursday after Nicola Sturgeon called out Labour's "backroom deals" with the Tories - despite the party saying there would be no coalitions during the May council elections.

During First Minister's Questions, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar accused the SNP of "chasing headlines" over nationalising ScotRail rather than "doing the work" as he criticised timetable cuts.

Opposition parties challenged the First Minister over the government's handling of the nationalisation of ScotRail. 

The MSP said the party should "employ fewer spin doctors and more train drivers".

But the First Minister hit back at Sarwar, saying: "'Chasing headlines', presiding officer. Could that be like, I don't know, perhaps saying in a council election that there will be no coalition and then doing backroom deals with the Tories after the council elections?

READ MORE: Douglas Ross tells Nicola Sturgeon to apologise over ScotRail timetable cuts

"Could that be what Anas Sarwar is talking about?"

The SNP benches were seen applauding during Sturgeon's reply, as Sarwar angrily said "name one".

The presiding officer then interrupted saying "First Minister, there will be no conversations across aisles. No loud conversations, thank you,"

Sarwar said the disruption to rail services and the increase in rail fares come at the same time as fuel prices spiral.

He said: "While she rightly demands action on the cost of living across the UK, she ignores the impact of decisions she makes right here in Scotland.

"The cost of commuting going up, people struggling to get to work, unable to get home at night and whole communities cut off from our cities. 

"Why do the people of Scotland continually have to pay the price for SNP failure."

Sturgeon replied: "How dare Anas Sarwar come to this chamber and talk about the cost of living when his party is seeking to do backroom deals with the authors of that cost of living crisis."

READ MORE: Unionists' 'dirty deal' ends SNP council administration despite election win

It comes after Sarwar was accused of “unpardonable acts of betrayal” over claims his party has done deals with Tory council groups across Scotland.

The SNP took aim at Scottish Labour for allegedly plotting several “backroom deals” to take control of local authority administrations following the May 5 elections.

Ahead of the vote, the party’s leader had vowed that no Scottish Labour groups would enter formal coalitions with other parties. The SNP had offered to work formally with other progressive parties, as they had done in several parts of Scotland before the elections.

The SNP have been angered by reports of Scottish Labour groups on several councils forming or attempting to form minority administrations that can only be achieved with the support of Conservative councillors, while stopping short of formal agreements.