NICOLA Sturgeon and Douglas Ross have been embroiled in a social media war of words over claims the First Minister was "elitist and patronising".

It comes as Ms Sturgeon was accused of a “Trump-style meltdown” during a row over whether a key vaccination target was met.

The Scottish Conservatives hit out after the First Minister suggested her critics on the issue lacked intelligence and common sense.

Ms Sturgeon previously told MSPs that "by July 26, we expect to have given second doses to all 40- to 49-year-olds".

However, figures show just 75.8 per cent of people in this age group had been given both doses as of Sunday.

READ MORE: Tories accuse Nicola Sturgeon of 'Trump-style meltdown' over vaccine row

By yesterday, this had risen to 77.4%, while 90.7% had been given their first dose.

Ms Sturgeon said all adults had been offered a coronavirus vaccine, in line with targets, but that it was voluntary and so she could not guarantee 100% uptake.

Speaking during a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing, she said: "When I communicate, and I apologise if this is an error, I kind of communicate at a level where I assume a certain level of intelligence on the part of people listening to me, because I think that's justified.”

The remarks were seized upon by the Scottish Tories, who claimed the First Minister was “treating people like fools”.

“Nicola Sturgeon claims she is communicating at a ‘level of intelligence’ us mere mortals just don’t understand,” the party commented.

Ross added: “Arrogant, elitist, patronising.

“This is not a First Minister who represents working class Scotland anymore.”


That prompted a direct response from the SNP leader. She replied: “‘Working class’ Scotland understands perfectly.

"It’s opportunistic politicians who choose not to understand (because having a go at me/the SNP matters more to you than taking the right decisions in a pandemic) that I was referring to – and I have clearly touched some raw nerves!”

The Scottish Tory leader continued the online row, again accusing the First Minister of patronising working-class Scots.

He wrote: "My my. The SNP do not like being called out.

“But you’re right about one thing – when you talk down to normal working people across Scotland, that does touch raw nerves."

Ms Sturgeon previously told the briefing that despite “interpretation by opposition politicians and by some journalists…what I actually meant was that I was giving a guarantee that by a certain date 100% of people would not just have been offered the vaccine, but would have had the vaccine. 

"Now all I would say is if that is genuinely what people – journalists, opposition politicians – thought I meant, and that I had committed to that without compulsory vaccination, I'm genuinely really surprised that there wasn't a clamour of questions – in fact I don't think there was a single one – asking me how on earth I was going to deliver that commitment."

She added: "How could I, without saying vaccination would be compulsory for every person with no could I possibly have guaranteed 100% uptake of a voluntary vaccination programme?

"Maybe I need to not make the mistake of assuming a level of ability to put context and common sense around how I communicate things.

"Everybody, with any thought attached to it, would have known – not least because it's what all goverments across the UK are doing – that what I was committing to, which is what we have delivered, is making sure 100% had been offered an appointment for a vaccine."

She said uptake levels are already "extraordinarily high", and apologised if she sounded "irritated". 

Responding to the briefing, Scottish Conservative health spokeswoman Annie Wells said: “Question after question at Tuesday’s Covid briefing got the full Nicola Sturgeon condescending eye-roll treatment.

"In a Trump-style meltdown for the ages, the First Minister claimed she was communicating at a more intelligent, higher level than the rest of us.

"This kind of hostile performance treats the public like fools.

"Her defence for missing a key vaccine target seems to be that nobody understands Nicola except Nicola.

"People hoping for answers to serious questions instead got a truly bizarre rant. She talked down to us mere mortals because we had the audacity to believe she had meant what she said in the Scottish Parliament.

"Nicola Sturgeon seems to have forgotten that it was her Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, who was pulled up for using inaccurate statistics about children with Covid.”