Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at claims she is ‘enjoying’ setting her ‘own rules’ outside of England amid the coronavirus pandemic.

BBC’s Scotland editor Sarah Smith said during the News at Ten that it was ‘obvious’ Sturgeon has ‘enjoyed the opportunity to set her own lockdown rules and not have to follow what’s happening in England’.

The Scottish First Minister then took to Twitter to deny this was true, adding that she had never ‘enjoyed’ anything less in her ‘entire political career’.

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She continued: ‘My heart breaks everyday for all those who have lost loved ones to this virus.’

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Ms Smith later clarified that she had meant to say Sturgeon was ’embracing the opportunity’ to set out separate policies for Scotland amid the coronavirus crisis. Her explantation has since been accepted by the SNP leader, although she again disagreed with the sentiment.

Sturgeon said: ‘I’ve made clear my view on this report. I’m not “enjoying” or “embracing’ an “opportunity”. I’m just doing what I judge best in very difficult circumstances.

‘That said, I understand the scrutiny that comes with it and accept Sarah’s clarification. For me, the matter is closed.’

Scotland’s is currently operating under different lockdown measures to England, after Boris Johnson announced he would relax some measures earlier this month.

Those in England can now enjoy as much exercise as they like, while anyone who cannot work from home has been urged to speak to their employees about returning to their jobs. People can also meet up with other person outside their household, so long as they keep two metres distance.

In Scotland, restrictions are not expected to begin relaxing until May 28, while schools could reopen on August 11, with children spending half the week in the classroom and half at home.

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Johnson announced in his address to the nation that English schools will begin reopening on June 1.

So-far 2,134 have died with Covid-19 in Scotland. The total death toll for the UK could now be as high as 44,000, data released by the Office for National Statistics today suggests.

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