NICOLA Sturgeon’s controversial top official has been accused of 'virtue signalling' after joining the protest sparked by the police killing of African American George Floyd.

Permanent Secretary Leslie Eaves tweeted a picture of herself kneeling outside her home in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Using her official @PermSecScot account, she wrote: “I #TakeTheKnee in solidarity & support of #BlackLivesMatter”.

The post came a day after Ms Sturgeon said she felt “total solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement".

Ms Evans's actions generated considerable comment on social media, with some people criticising her and suggesting she should be more focused on Scotland's record on handling the coronavirus.

"How very 'virtuous' of you. I think I might do the same for the 1,818 innocent souls who've perished in Scotland's care homes," wrote one Twitter user.

Another said: "If there ever was a more obvious case of virtue signalling then it better beat this. FFS."

Others called Ms Evans, who lives in Edinburgh's west end, has a salary of £175,000 and a £2m pension pot, an "embarrassment".

However John McTiernan, the former political secretary to Tony Blair, praised Ms Evans, tweeting "Well done."

Mr Floyd, 46, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after policeman Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes as Mr Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe.

His death, which was caught on camera and broadcast around the world, has sparked a wave of protests across the US and beyond.

Mr Chauvin was sacked and has now beem charged with second-degree murder, punishable by up to 40 years in prison.

Three other officers involved were sacked and charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Ms Evans hit the headlines in 2018 when she was at the heart of the Scottish Government’s in-house probe into sexual misconduct complaints against Alex Salmond.

Mr Salmond won a judicial review action against the Scottish Government in January 2019, establishing this probe had been unfair, unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The former First Minister said Ms Evans should quit.

The Government’s defence of the civil case fell apart after it admitted the lead investigating official had been in prior contact with the complainers.

Mr Salmond was subsequently tried and acquitted of 13 counts of sexual assault.

He is now writing a book about his trial in which Ms Evans is expected to feature. 

The civil service code says public officials must not allow their “personal political views to determine any advice you give or your actions”.