Covid Scotland: Tories demand Nicola Sturgeon corrects official Holyrood report

Holyrood’s Presiding Officer has been dragged into the political row over whether Nicola Sturgeon literally meant all 40 to 49-year-olds would be “given” two Covid vaccinations by July 26 as she told MSPs in Parliament, or whether she meant they would just have been “offered” the jags.

Scottish Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr has written to Alison Johnstone asking if the First Minister would be “afforded” a chance to make a clarification to Parliament and be allowed to “correct the Official Report”.

The verbatim report from Ms Sturgeon’s Covid update to MSPs on June 22 states: “By 26 July, we expect to have given second doses to all 40 to 49-year-olds, and by 20 August, all 30 to 39-year-olds will have had a second dose.”

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However, figures released this week showed only 76 per cent of all 40 to 49-year-olds had received two doses of the vaccine by that date, prompting opposition MSPs to claim the Scottish Government had missed an important milestone.

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As a result Ms Sturgeon the aim had been to have the vaccine “offered” by that date and in a self-described “rant” at her Covid briefing on Tuesday, said she expected a “certain level of intelligence” and a “certain ability to attach context and common sense to what I am saying”, about her initial statement.

In his letter to the Presiding Officer, Mr Kerr said there was a “clear discrepancy between what is recorded in the official report and what the First Minister is now saying”.

“This is an important point of order and cannot simply be brushed off by the First Minister,” he said. “It requires clarification to Parliament.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacts during First Minster's Questions. Picture: Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images

He added: “Parliament must be able to accept a ministerial statement at face value. In other words, what ministers say in the chamber must mean something.

"They cannot say something in the chamber in plain English and then represent what they had said as meaning something completely different at a later date. This would reduce our affairs to the ridiculous.”

The office of the Presiding Officer said while MSPs were responsible for the accuracy of their contributions there was a corrections mechanism available if incorrect information was provided and MSPs would be able to question the First Minister when Holyrood is recalled on August 3.

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