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Mr Goodall accused ministers of scrambling to erase messages on social media which criticised the SNP’s handling of the row about Scottish exam results. The exam grades scandal has taken up much of Ms Sturgeon’s time this week. And Scottish education secretary John Swinney managed to cling onto his job after attempts by MSPs to oust him.

Ministers had spent five days defending the exam system in the face of mounting pressure from pupils, parents and political opponents.

They eventually caved in to pressure, and agreed to restore original higher marks to tens of thousands of Scottish pupils who had their end-of-year results downgraded.

Seeking to divert attention away from her nationalist government, Ms Sturgeon took to Twitter to attempt to shame Tory ministers in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet.

The First Minister retweeted a tweet by Newsnight editor in which he said: “Seems several Conservative MPs are now deleting their retweets about the SNP’s handling of their qualification crisis.”

Mr Goodall included a screenshot of an account that highlights deleted social media posts by MPs.

But the journalist missed one crucial detail.

The deleted tweet he was referring to was in fact a tweet by the Scottish Conservatives, which had been retweeted by MPs, making it appear as if the tweets had then been deleted by the politicians themselves.

The deleted tweet from the Scottish Tories seems to have been erased because of a grammatical error.

The tweet used the word ‘effected’ rather than ‘affected’.

Mr Goodall deleted the tweet soon after but not before Ms Sturgeon retweeted it to her 1.2 million followers.

She simply wrote: “Posting without comment.”

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On Friday Ms Sturgeon was forced to defend the independence of an academic appointed to carry out a review into the exam grades scandal.

The Scottish Conservatives said the First Minister should consider removing Professor Mark Priestley over tweets he had sent in the past expressing support for the SNP.

The Daily Record reported Prof Priestley tweeted that voting for a candidate dropped by the SNP for using anti-Semitic language could “perhaps” be “the lesser of two evils”.

The University of Stirling education professor was also reported to have said the clear message in many constituencies was “vote SNP or get a Tory”.

Asked about the professor at the daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon said her job is not to “interrogate” the political views of people appointed for such roles.

She said: “Mark Priestley is a respected academic and I don’t think anybody could credibly or reasonably doubt his credentials for this job, his experience, skills and aptitude.

“So yes, I do think he’s the right person.

Earlier this week, Prof Priestley was asked to conduct a review into the situation around exam results being downgraded by a controversial moderation process which was later scrapped.

His initial report is due in five weeks.

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