Sturgeon admits SNP ministers broke Covid rules – as own deputy deletes photo of incident
Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash in election debate
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Scotland’s First Minister has defended the pair by saying “none of us are perfect” in admission to her own transgression at Christmas – while admitting both were “pretty mortified” by the incidents. As the Scottish Government’s minister for Parliamentary affairs and Veterans, Graeme Day was the one who first announced coronavirus rules as they applied to MSPs.
However, he fell foul of the restrictions himself by holding an outdoor gathering for which he later apologised.
Meanwhile John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, was also forced to say sorry after he took a selfie with four party activists while leafletting.
Mrs Sturgeon was questioned about both incidents during yesterday’s coronavirus briefing, the first to be held during the election period.
Referring to her own “mishap” over the Christmas period, when she was spotted talking to people without a mask, Mrs Sturgeon stressed nobody was perfect.
She said: “The ministers, Graeme and John, who made a mistake around the size of gatherings when they were leafleting, were in the wrong.
“Both of them have apologised. If, as many of you do, you know either of them and how seriously they take their responsibilities.
“They are both pretty mortified at having done that.
“None of us, unfortunately, are perfect and none of us are infallible.
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“I think it’s really important that when people like me who are asking people to follow these rules do slip up you’re really upfront about it and apologise and continue to ask people to do the right thing for all of the right reasons.”
Mr Dey’s breach was first reported in The Courier newspaper – for whom he was once the sports editor.
Scotland’s coronavirus election rules, which he presented to the Scottish Parliament on March 2, permit leafleting subject to restrictions on group size.
Car-sharing and street stalls are banned, while doorstep campaigning is due to take place from April 6 onwards, depending on the virus’s prevalence.
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Mr Swinney made no reference to the incident in a Twitter post the previous day, when he said: “Good to be out on the physically distanced campaign trail
@theSNP with @PeteWishart in #Scone.
“Spreading the good news of the doubling of the child payment announced by @NicolaSturgeon.”
However, he apparently deleted a second tweet featuring him with a group of five people – more than the four permitted.
He subsequently issued a statement in which he said: “A small number of my supporters were leafleting in the same town.
“We should not have gathered together at that time and I apologise for that.”
Former SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was suspended from the party last year after travelling from Scotland to Westminster despite suffering from coronavirus symptoms and while still awaiting the results of a test.
She then returned to Scotland despite the test confirming she had the disease.
Mrs Sturgeon described Mrs Ferrier as having committed the “worst breach imaginable” and urged her to resign.
However, Mrs Ferrier has so far refused to quit her Rutherglen and Hamilton West seat.
On January 4, Mrs Ferrier was arrested by Police Scotland and charged by with “culpable and reckless conduct.”
She appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on February 2021., at which point no plea was entered was made and she was bailed.
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