Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th January 2021.

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The First Minister:

As we have done all along, we will always look to close genuine loopholes. However, the fundamental point is that the vast majority of individuals and businesses have behaved responsibly—not because the Government has told them to, but because they recognise the vital importance of everything that they are being asked to do. The message is about protecting health, saving lives and ensuring that our NHS can continue to care for everybody who needs it. That is vital for the safety and security of us all.

However, I say clearly—and I stress—that this is a moment to recapture the sense that we had back in March last year, when I think that everybody wanted to operate not only within the letter of the rules but within their spirit. We need to get that back. I understand why people want to have as much normality as possible, but, instead of looking for loopholes, our attitude must right now be to observe the maximum that we can do to limit the spread of the virus. The more we do so, the greater the chance we give the vaccine to get ahead more quickly, and now—much more so than in March—the better the prospect of our being able to get genuine normality back later this year.