THERE are bigger issues than how a first minister travels through an airport, Nicola Sturgeon has said, as she called for “perspective” over recent reporting on Scottish Government credit cards.

Speaking at Iain Dale’s All Talk Edinburgh Fringe Show, the former first minister said the £10,000 spent on VIP airport services over three years were likely much cheaper than “one private jet flight of Rishi Sunak’s”.

The National:

The MSP also took a pop at the Scottish press and said she didn’t understand the “outrage” as there were numerous security issues to be taken into consideration.

Sturgeon added that there were bigger issues that could have been reported or investigated, like the UK Government’s spending on PPE contracts.

She said: "The airport stuff, you know, a first minister has the ability to travel through an airport quickly and securely. I don’t know if that is an outrage, you can make up your own mind.

"I think I saw £10,000 over three years, I don’t know what the period was, that’s probably less than one private jet flight of Rishi Sunak’s.

"There's something about Scottish politics, is it uniquely Scottish politics? I don't know.

"But it's particularly the case in Scottish politics just now, there's just something really kind of lacking in perspective about how we're debating and having these things reported.

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"There’s definitely big issues there that perhaps should be getting more coverage than a first minister’s travel arrangements."

We told how on Tuesday Scottish Labour released data showing that civil servants had spent £14.2 million on credit cards over the course of three years.

Also revealed in the figures was spending on Sturgeon's travel arrangements at airports during her time as first minister. 

Over the three years, £9898 was spent on a firm known as Ace Handling, which fast-tracks clients through check-in and security before waiting for their flight in a VIP lounge.

It also emerged that civil servants had charged numerous items, including yoga classes, nail polish and a "homedisco" from eBay. 

Asked if the story "exacerbated the idea" on social media that all politicians have got their hand in the public purse, Sturgeon criticised the coverage.

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"That's what it was intended to do, but it doesn't make it true, frankly," Sturgeon blasted.

"If you did a quick Google search I'm sure you would find similar things about the UK Government, perhaps with a bit more justification on some things, but you know there’s lots of issues around in Scotland that would be absolutely legitimate for scrutiny about how public money is spent.

"I’m not denying that that’s the case in Scotland, but maybe a bit more coverage about PPE contracts and the UK Government and things like that.

"These things are important in terms of scrutiny about how the public's money has been spent, but the point is, I think stories like this one actually detract from that because it contributes to a sense that you're missing the real point and focusing on things that are perhaps being presented in a way that doesn't quite match reality."

We told how First Minister Humza Yousaf ordered a review of the spending by civil servants after the claims emerged.