FMQs: Nicola Sturgeon caught out not knowing Conservative MSP

Nicola Sturgeon was caught on microphone questioning the identity of a Conservative MSP.

Nicola Sturgeon had to ask who Tory MSP Tom Mason was during First Minister's Questions today. Picture: PA

Following her speech at First Minister’s Questions today on the Lockerbie disaster, the Presiding Officer called Tom Mason to ask a question.

Before her microphone was switched off, Ms Sturgeon turned to her deputy John Swinney and could be heard to say: “Tom Mason? Who’s Tom Mason?”

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Speaking after FMQs, the North East Scotland MSP branded the gaffe “not worthy of a First Minister”.

Mr Mason said: “It’s very disappointing. She has received many questions from me before and she should know who I am. Indeed she should know who all the members of Parliament are.

“Admittedly I’m not one of the front-bench fast movers, but it’s very disappointing.”

At FMQs, he asked the First Minister about reports of Aberdeen-based mechanical firm Richard Irvin going into administration, “with the expected loss of 110 jobs”.

Ms Sturgeon replied: “Can I thank the member for raising this issue, and yes this will be an extremely difficult and stressful time for employees of this company.

“In these circumstances, as the member will be aware, the Government’s Pace initiative offers assistance to employees to look for alternative employment, but before that – or often simultaneously with that – the Government is always keen to talk to companies to see whether there is any action we can take to help avoid redundancy situations.”

She added the economy minister would be in touch with Mr Mason and that “we will do everything we possibly can... to provide all possible assistance to those affected”.