A LABOUR MSP has been accused of “undermining his own leader” after he brought up Wales at FMQs – just minutes after Anas Sarwar had taken a jibe at Nicola Sturgeon for doing so.

The First Minister was answering questions from the Labour Party leader on the performance of Scotland’s NHS when she brought up the governments in Britain’s other nations.

Sarwar asked about the rise in the number of Scots waiting more than a year for treatment under her leadership. Sturgeon said “most people understand” that the rise was due to the pandemic.

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“Regardless of what party is in government, the SNP in Scotland, the Tories in England, Labour in Wales, the NHS is facing the same challenges and of course on many measures the NHS in Scotland is doing better,” the First Minister added.

Sarwar responded that bringing up Wales was “typical”, adding: “I remind her she’s paid to care about the people of Scotland.”

Just minutes later however, the Presiding Officer had to ask for quiet in the Holyrood chamber after another Labour MSP brought up Wales.

Michael Marra, a representative for North East Scotland, asked the First Minister about the planned replacement for the Erasmus scheme.

He said that 15,000 Scots a year had used the scheme before the Tory government in London broke its pledge to keep it in place after Brexit.

Marra said the Welsh replacement would begin in December, adding: “The SNP scheme will not open until 2026 – five years after the promise was made. How can the First Minister justify this astonishing delay to the 75,000 Scots who will miss out forever?”

Sturgeon responded by asking if Marra had been meaning to “undermine his leader” with his question.

She said: “I’m not sure if that was a leadership bid that was being launched by Michael Marra there or if it was an entirely inadvertent attempt to undermine his leader, who has just told me that we should never talk about Wales in this chamber. Perhaps Michael Marra will want to qualify that in the future.”

Sturgeon went on to address the question, saying details of the Scottish Erasmus replacement would come “in due course”.

The SNP leader told the chamber: “I can say this unashamedly, we have and will continue to look at the example in Wales. We remain committed to an alternative to Erasmus and we’ll set out further details of that in due course.

“I’ll tell you what I’m else I’m committed to, and that is to see Scotland rejoin the EU as an independent nation so we don’t have to have a second-best Erasmus. We can be back in the actual Erasmus scheme benefitting young people for generations to come.”