Covid-19 (Briefings)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 25th February 2021.

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Photo of Maurice Corry Maurice Corry Conservative

A key recommendation in the report that the citizens assembly produced this past week is that it should be health experts, not politicians, who lead the daily Covid briefings that the Scottish Government holds. Does the First Minister accept that recommendation?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

I struggle to work out what the Tories want. On one hand, they always tell me to concentrate on Covid— concentrate on the day job. On the other hand, they tell me to stop doing daily briefings to give the people of Scotland the information that they need.

I do not know whether that is what the Tories think I should do. Equally, is that what they think Boris Johnson should do? Last night, I saw the United Kingdom Government Secretary of State for Education lead a briefing. I have also seen the UK Government Secretary of State for Health and Social Care do so, and Boris Johnson does it regularly.

In a public health crisis, it is important that people get politicians who stand up, take responsibility and are accountable, and that those politicians are joined by public health experts who add important information. We are going into an election period, and I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure that the election is conducted properly and fairly. That will have implications for how we proceed with the Covid briefings during that period.