DOUGLAS Ross was scolded by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer after trying to “campaign for a UK General Election” in the chamber.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, the Scottish Tory leader pivoted from questions about the future of former health secretary Michael Matheson to talk about the General Election campaign.

Ross said: “John Swinney is saying today that it's acceptable for an MSP to take public money and then not be honest about it because he disagrees with the sanction of this parliament.

“Well, I have to say the public disagrees, and they will soon have the chance to have their say on this scandal.

READ MORE: John Swinney hits back at question from BBC presenter on SNP finances

“They have an opportunity to remove SNP politicians who let them down.

“In seats up and down Scotland it will be a straight fight between the SNP and the Scottish Conservatives.

“So does John Swinney believe that the SNP will be punished for their handling of this scandal and his actions on July 4?”

Before the SNP leader could respond, Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone cut in.

She said: “I would remind members that the chamber is not the place to campaign for a UK General Election.

“I do not want campaigning to distract members from their focus on issues that are the responsibility of this Parliament and the Scottish Government.”

Rishi Sunak announced a UK-wide vote would be held on July 4 on Wednesday evening, and will be joining Ross on the campaign trail in Scotland later on Thursday.

The Presiding Officer had to interrupt and issue a second warning, this time to the SNP, later on.

SNP MSP Kevin Stewart (below) had said: “I welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to build an economy that is strong, successful and dynamic.

The National:

“And the £5 million funding package announced by the Scottish Government this week to start to support start up businesses is testament to that commitment.

“However, many of the powers we need to grow our economy remain reserved. Does the first Minister share my concern that Westminster economic mismanagement continues to hold Scotland's economy back?

“And does he share my view that with a strong SNP voice at Westminster, we can continue to make clear that this just isn't good enough for Scotland?”

Johnstone cut in: “Before the First Minister responds, If I may again remind members that the chamber is not the place to be electioneering and I don't want campaigning to distract members from focusing on matters for which the government has general responsibility?”

Elsewhere at FMQs, Swinney backed former health secretary Matheson, claiming the Tories had “prejudiced” a committee probe which ultimately recommended sanctions including a 27-day suspension and docked pay.