Chris Whitty: Nicola Sturgeon and Dr Gregor Smith condemn 'appalling' behaviour after England's chief medical officer accosted in London park

The First Minister and Scotland's chief medical officer have condemned the treatment of England’s chief medical officer – both naming it as appalling - after he was accosted by two men in a park in London.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the "appalling" treatment of Chris Whitty in a London park (Photo: PA and POOL/AFP via Getty Images).
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has condemned the "appalling" treatment of Chris Whitty in a London park (Photo: PA and POOL/AFP via Getty Images).

Speaking at the covid briefing on Tuesday afternoon alongside Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s chief medical officer, Ms Sturgeon said she both ‘deplored and condemned’ the abuse Professor Chris Whitty faced from what she said was ‘a mindless minority.’

The First Minister’s comments come after a video shows England's chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, being accosted by two men in St James's Park in London.

The video shows two men laughing and jeering as they grab hold of Prof Whitty, who struggles to free himself.

Police are now investigating the incident.

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Nicola Sturgeon said: “I can’t find the words strong enough to deplore and condemn what I saw in a video last night with the way in which Chris Whitty was being abused, actually manhandled by people out in public.

“For anyone to face that is appalling.

“I don’t work with Chris Whitty directly- I’ve had interactions with him throughout the pandemic – but I do work with Gregor on a day-to-day basis very closely and I know how hard our clinical advisors are working right now in the interests of getting the whole country through this and they deserve our gratitude and support not abuse from a mindless minority.

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“I’ll send Chris my good wishes today and encourage him to keep doing the fantastic job that he has been doing.”

Dr Smith added: “Chris is a person who I have got a huge amount of personal and professional respect for both in the way that he has conducted himself generally over the course of the pandemic but just in the qualities that he brings from a professional perspective.

“I think it’s appalling what happened to Chris and as a society we should condemn it.”

Boris Johnson said he was "shocked at seeing the despicable harassment" of Prof Whitty.

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England’s new Health Secretary Sajid Javid described the video as “appalling and totally unacceptable”, he said: "I've seen the video of the CMO being harassed," he said. "It's appalling and totally unacceptable.”

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