NICOLA Sturgeon has backed her Justice Secretary in an ongoing row over Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley.

The First Minister was quizzed by Conservative leader Ruth Davidson about a meeting between Michael Matheson and Scottish Police Authority officials.

Ms Davidson accused the SNP of interfering, accused the Justice Secretary of blocking a return to work for Mr Gormley, who is being investigated over misconduct claims, and in not producing minutes from the meeting of being secretive.

Ms Davidson said it was “the SNP’s secret Scotland and it stinks”.

Ms Sturgeon hit back accusing the Tories of “hypocrisy”.

She said “The justice secretary didn’t intervene” she said he asked “legitimate questions”.

The First Minister said had Mr Matheson not asked the questions Ruth Davidson would be asking why not.

Ms Sturgeon said: “The Justice Secretary did his job on behalf of the people of this country.”

Richard Leonard, Labour leader, asked the First Minister to act to help elderly residents who face losing their home with Bield closing its care homes.

He said the care sector was “on the brink of collapse” and 1200 care home paces were needed to meet the need.”

The First Minister disagreed and said: “I don’t believe the sector is on the verge of collapse”.

She said Bield was facing difficulties and the Scottish Government was working to guarantee continuity of care for those residents affected. Ms Sturgeon said there had been a 13% increase in funding for the care home sector over the last three years.

Scottish Greens leader, Patrick Harvie, put Ms Sturgeon on the spot over homes being turned into “mini-hotels” for short term lets putting pressure on available housing stock and increasing rents.

He called for regulation of the so called “collaborative economy” but he said the short term let market was an “exploitative economy”

Ms Sturgeon said there was an expert group looking into the collaborative economy and it would be best to wait for it to make recommendations before deciding on a course of action.