Nicola Sturgeon has insisted work carried out at Bute House was “essential” for safety reasons and that she has not been there for months.
The first minister defended the ceiling repairs at her official residence in Edinburgh after it was revealed that workers visited the property during lockdown last week.
Opposition MSPs had described the renovations as a “slap in the face” to ordinary Scots who are adhering to restrictions designed to halt the spread of coronavirus.
However, when asked about the upgrade at her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said the impression given by the story was “not accurate”.
She said: “The reason it is important to address it is that I know and understand that nothing infuriates people right now more than the sense that there is one law for everybody and somehow another law for people like me.
“I think there is a couple of points just to make to clarify the Bute House issue.
“Firstly, I’m not staying in Bute House just now.
“I haven’t set foot in Bute House since the first lockdown, because back then I decided to minimise the number of staff that were having to be in Bute House, and to cut my own contacts as much as possible, I was going to be staying in my own home.
“And that’s what I’ve been doing since the first lockdown. So I haven’t been in Bute House, it’s not being used right now as a residence, so it’s not a ‘home’, as was described this morning.”
The SNP leader added: “Secondly, there has been work carried out in January but it was essential safety work.
“As I understand, and the explanation I’m about to give here is probably not a technical one, it has been to pin part of a ceiling, or the plasterwork of a ceiling, which was deemed essential because the state it was in was unsafe, and I think there was some security work done at the same time.
“There has been no ‘painting and decorating’ done, and that was the suggestion in the newspaper this morning.
“It was essential work, for safety reasons, not painting and decorating.”