AN SNP MSP has been loudly jeered at Holyrood after promoting independence while Nicola Sturgeon gave an update on the Covid pandemic.

Kenneth Gibson was barracked after he accused Unionist politicians of “talking down Scotland” and telling “scare stories” about independence deterring foreign investment.

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone warned Mr Gibson he was “straying beyond the bounds” of the First Minister’s statement, and asked if she had a "relevant" response. 

It came as Ms Sturgeon updated Holyrood on the latest coronavirus figures, revealing the number of cases had risen by 50 per cent in a week.

However she said there had not been a similar rise in hospitalisations, suggesting the vaccination programme was weakening the link between the virus and serious illness.

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In the Q&A part of the session, Mr Gibson, the MSP for Cunninghame North, raised a recent EY report showing strong foreign direct investment in Scotland last year.

He said: “Given that across the 12 nations and regions of the UK, Scotland attracted the second highest number of overseas-backed investments after London in very years since 2014, does the First Minister agree it's time for Unionist politicians to dispense with the scare stories about this Government’s commitment to independence deterring investment, desist from talking down Scotland, and back the outward-looking, innovative nation that Scotland is as we recover from Covid-19?”

To applause from opposition MSPs, Ms Johnstone said: “I would suggest perhaps that the member is straying beyond the bounds of this statement.”

She asked if the First Minister had a “relevant response that may help Mr Gibson”.

Ms Sturgeon sidestepped most of Mr Gibson’s points, but said the EY attractiveness survey should be welcomed by everyone across the chamber.

She said: “What it does show is that in the face fo a global pandemic, Scotland remained the top UK inward investment destination outside of London, and that has been the case for eight of the past 10 years. 

“We also managed to grow our inward investment at a time when it shrunk across the UK as a whole. So whatever our different political viewpoints, whatever our different ambitions for the country, surely in the face of this really tough time we are facing as a country to welcome thoroughly good news for the Scottish economy.”