NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of disrespecting Holyrood’s Presiding Officer after clashing with her at FMQs.

The First Minister appeared to challenge Alison Johnstone’s authority after being urged to hurry up during a long answer about the NHS.

“This is important stuff,” the First Minister told her.

It followed Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross asking about the latest A&E waiting time figures being the worst on record, with particularly long waits at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

After Mr Ross criticised her for not addressing his point, Ms Sturgeon embarked on a lengthy explanation of why she had answered him in the way she had. 

She also repeated a point that the problems in Scotland were not unique, but were seen in the rest of the UK and indeed the rest of the world.

As the answer wound on, Ms Johnstone told her: “Briefly, First Minister.”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I will be as brief as possible. This is important stuff, Presiding Officer.

“Serious questions have been asked and I’m seeking to give detailed answers.”

After Tory MSPs audibly complained about her tone, Ms Sturgeon said: “I would have thought that, having raised these really serious issues, the Conservatives would actually want the information that answers the questions. Even if they don’t, I suspect people watching at home do.”

Ms Johnstone again interjected: “Briefly.”

Mr Ross said: “I think the concerns from these benches were the First Minister apparently disrespecting the Presiding Officer, who was asking her to focus on the issues. 

“And perhaps the First Minister would have more time to focus on the issues about the questions on Scotland's NHS if she didn't try to throw the blame elsewhere around the United Kingdom.”

Ms Sturgeon responded to the accusation with a disbelieving shake of her head as she sipped a glass of water.