Covid Scotland: Nicola Sturgeon rejects criticism of Covid-19 vaccine passport scheme at FMQs

Nicola Sturgeon rejected further calls from the Scottish Conservatives to delay or scrap the implementation of Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme.

During First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood, the Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said “everything about this has been left to the last minute”, but the SNP leader highlighted the decision by a judge on Thursday morning to reject a legal challenge to the scheme.

Mr Ross labelled the scheme – which is set to come into force at 5am on Friday morning with enforcement not starting until October 18 and will see people asked to present proof of vaccination to get into certain venues and events – as a “complete farce”.

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He said: “Businesses have never had a tougher time than right now, but they are getting guidance on vaccine passports at the very last minute, and the evidence case for them - if it can be called that - appeared before a Scottish Parliament committee for the first time this morning

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon rejected calls from Douglas Ross to delay the Covid vaccine passport scheme

"There are so many flaws littered through this scheme and proper consideration hasn't taken place."

“This isn’t the way to run any scheme, let alone one that will affect people right across Scotland.

"My party want it scrapped but surely even she must accept the scheme is not ready and needs to be delayed.”

However, Ms Sturgeon said the ruling by Lord Burns in the Court of Session which rejected a petition for judicial review of the vaccine passports scheme by the nightclub industry was “clear and emphatic”.

She said: “This is a targeted and proportionate way to try and reduce the harm the virus will do over the winter months, to keep our economy open and fully functioning.

"We will continue to engage with businesses not just in the runup to the enforcement of this on 18 October, we will do that afterwards as well so we are listening and understanding and working collectively to keep the country as safe as possible.”

However, the First Minister was criticised by Mr Ross for not knowing the details of her own legislation as she failed to answer a question about what a specific regulation stated.

Mr Ross said Scotland was now the only country in Europe “forcing these higher costs onto businesses” and after listing a number of hospitality groups who are opposed to the scheme, asked the First Minister why they are wrong and she is right.

He added: “Nicola Sturgeon wants independence in Europe, well she’s got it.

"She’s completely alone in pursuing this shambles of a scheme.”

Responding, the First Minister accused Mr Ross of changing his position from in favour of scrapping the proposal to including a requirement for a test and accused the Tory leader of opposing for the sake of oppostion.

She added: “I am left wondering what exactly it is that Douglas Ross does support us doing to keep Covid under control.

"Because the position he is taking right now is simply to oppose everything this government does simply for the sake of opposition.

"At any time that is irresponsible, but in the face of a deadly virus, that is particularly irresponsible from the Conservatives.”

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