Irvine MP Philippa Whitford has criticised SNP colleague John Mason for announcing he will continue to hold face-to-face constituency surgeries despite coronavirus worries.

The Glasgow Shettleston MSP said he and his staff are “keen to be as available as possible”, announcing on Twitter that his office would continue to be open five days a week.

Mason’s tweet read: “My staff and I are keen to be as available as possible to constituents (individuals and businesses) so we’re keeping our office open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.

“All my surgeries will now be in my office.”

Mason added that he is “happy to do home visits if needed”.

The Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament have both advised those who can work from home to do so in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Fourteen people in Scotland have lost their lives since the outbreak began.

SNP MP Philippa Whitford criticised Mason’s decision, tweeting: “Can I suggest you should be setting an EXAMPLE! – NOT putting your staff and constituents

at risk of #COVID19 #StayAtHomeSaveLives.”

Whitford told the Times: “As I commented on Twitter, I feel all MPs and MSPs should be setting an example by following the Scottish Government’s advice on reducing physical interaction and, therefore, the risk of spreading the virus.

“The vast majority of my constituency cases routinely come via email or phone contact and both of these are functioning normally, despite my team already working from home.

“By arranging that their staff can work from home, while still providing support for constituents who need advice or help, elected representatives can protect both their staff and constituents as well as encouraging other businesses to close or alter their way of working.”

On John Mason, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Very categorically, the advice he has given is not the right advice.

“It’s important particularly elected representatives give people the right advice.”

After heavy criticism, Mason agreed on Monday afternoon to close his face-to-face surgeries.