NICOLA Sturgeon has been embroiled in a Twitter spat with her former opposite number amid claims the Scottish Government has put pressure on an independent adviser to change her views.

Professor Devi Sridhar, who sits on the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 expert scientific advisory group, tweeted that "if Covid-19 numbers can be brought low enough in Scotland by 11 August (under 20 confirmed cases) & with appropriate 'test and protect' policies, my personal view is that schools should re-open as normally as possible (kids back full-time & able to play/interact together)."

The Scottish Government has been criticised for the emergency measures to re-open schools amid the global Covid-19 pandemic with a blended learning approach.

The Edinburgh University professor and public health expert later clarified her remarks, stating that “Nicola Sturgeon and I are completely aligned”, adding that she supports the First Minister’s “cautious approach to easing lockdown & re-opening schools”.

Professor Sridhar added that Ms Sturgeon “has kids (& teachers, parents) best interests in mind” and was making decisions “in a reasoned & data-driven way”.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Schools could open with 'nearer normality' if virus fight continues on track

But former Scottish Conservative leader, Ruth Davidson, suggested that the First Minister has voiced her opposition to the views, leading to the message of support.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Davidson said: “Guess someone got the hairdryer treatment over the phone...”

Ms Sturgeon denied the assertion, criticising her former rival’s commentary on the situation.

She said: “Untrue...but more importantly, utterly disgraceful to suggest that a highly respected expert (who I suspect has more integrity in her wee finger than *some* have overall) would be susceptible to that.”

But Ms Davidson hit back, pointing to former alleged incidents where top SNP politicians have reportedly put pressure on experts.

She said: “How absolutely *disgraceful* to suggest the SNP would put pressure on an expert or words in their mouth.... Louise Richardson or Matt Qvortrup anyone?”

In 2014, then First Minister Alex Salmond reportedly phoned Professor Richardson to ask she clarify remarks she made – while Mr Salmond was forced to apologise for misleading parliament over the position of referendum expert, Dr Qvortrup, on the independence referendum.