A Glasgow MSP has been criticised by the Health Secretary and SNP colleagues for keeping his office open to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

John Mason, Shettleston SNP MSP said he was following Scottish Parliament advice that it was his decision whether to open or close.

He said he wanted to be available to constituents during the crisis and said it was not fair that he should keep safe while asking NHS and transport workers to continue working with the public.

Government advice is to work from home for those who can.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman urged Mr Mason to listen to the advice.

She said: “John please don’t do this. Follow the clear health guidance - you are neither an exception nor exceptional.”

SNP MP Philippa Whitford criticised the decision by her party colleague, tweeting: “Can I suggest you should be setting an example, not putting your staff and constituents at risk of COVID19.”

Mr Mason said he was staying open to try and help people who needed it.

He said: I’m in the office just now. Last week the advice form the Parliament was it’s up to us. I discussed it with staff and we agreed to open. We are doing things at a distance.

The surround shops are open, vaping shops, barbers. I want to take this seriously, some people are not.”

Mr Mason said the only person to come into his office was the postman and he was reviewing the situation.

Mr Mason said he was not aware of Jeane Freeman’s comments

He said: “I take Jeane Freeman’s advice very seriously but the parliament advice was it was up to us. I will follow the advice.”

He added: “We are asking buses, trains to keep running and shops to open. We have a duty to them. There is a balance. If I need to close the office I will. If people need help we are here to help them.” Former Holyrood Presiding Officer, Tricia Marwick, said Mr Mason was an “idiot”

On twitter she said: “John, with the greatest respect you are an idiot. You are endangering yourself and others. Close the office to the public. How on earth can you expect others to follow advice when you will not?”

Mr Mason said: “We need to have a slightly more serious discussion.”

Last wednesday Mr Mason tweeted a photo of his meal in an Edinburgh restaurant after the advice was to stay away form pubs and restaurants.

He said: “But we are advised to reduce social contact so only stayed for 1 pint instead of usual 2 or 3. It was extremely quiet so no difficulty staying 2 metres away from folk.”

He responded to criticism stating: “There has been no law to stop pubs and restaurants opening. That may come. But reality is that people are not going out and many businesses are struggling. We face both a health and an economic challenge.