Nicola Sturgeon has slammed "keyboard warriors" and voiced her support for all politicians standing for selection and election to the Scottish Parliament. 

The First Minister has warned that those putting themselves forward will be opening themselves up to abuse on social media, but has praised their "guts" for doing so. 

She highlighted the case of Rhiannon Spear, who is seeking to represent Argyll and Bute in the May 2021 Scottish Parliament elections.

In a series of tweets, she said: "You will face abuse on here - especially if you have the temerity to be a woman and/or from one of our BAME communities.

"But stand strong and don't be silenced".

She added: "Bullies are cowards and that's just as true on social media as it is in real life.

"By putting yourself forward, you are already showing more guts than any keyboard warrior hurling abuse."

She also urged her fellow parliamentarians to offer support to Holyrood hopefuls.

She said: "And to my fellow 'old timers' in politics - we should have the backs of those who are not as inured to it as we are, and call out abuse on here when we see it, even when it's from our own 'side'.

"Disagreement is what democracy is all about - vile, toxic abuse is not."