THE Scottish Tory leader was told off for giving John Swinney a new nickname during First Minister’s Questions.

The deputy FM was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon on Thursday as she continues to struggle with Covid symptoms. She said she had been “floored” by the virus, for which she tested positive last week.

As Douglas Ross put questions to Swinney on the ferries row, he decided to dub the Covid Recovery Secretary “Honest John”.

But the Presiding Officer was not having it – and she quickly intervened to remind Ross that members must use proper names.

“Mr Ross, Mr Ross,” she cut in. “We will desist from nicknames in this Chamber and we will call people by their first names.”

“Sorry, sorry,” responded the Moray MP and part-time linesman.

Ross's nickname came as he insisted Swinney was instrumental in signing off on the controversial CalMac contract.

READ MORE: CalMac ferries: John Swinney denies contracts were for political gain

The deputy FM said it was disgraced former minister Derek Mackay who was ultimately responsible.

Pointing to emails which he said show Swinney approved the contract, Ross told MSPs: "Against overwhelming evidence, John Swinney signed off the deal anyway.

"It seems obvious to everyone what has happened here. The SNP wanted the political praise for keeping the yard open ahead of an election, so they ignored all the alarm bells.

"It looks an awful lot like the SNP made a dodgy deal and now they’re covering it up.

"Can the deputy first minister really tell the public that there was no political motive behind the award of this contract?"

Replying to Ross, the deputy FM said: “There was no political motive behind this contract.

“The objective of the Government was to ensure that ferries that are required are built and that is what we are concentrating on achieving. And we are also determined to ensure that employment in the lower Clyde is supported with contracts coming from the Calmac network.

“For Mr Ross to say that somehow the yard could stay open without any contracts is just to deny physical reality about the way which a yard would be run.”

He insisted that “Audit Scotland had deemed the procurement process to be “entirely standard”, adding: “And on that basis the transport minister took the decision to award the contract.”