Humza Yousaf accused of cronyism after helping Martin Compston secure a coronavirus vaccine for his co-star

Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire received a coronavirus vaccine after her co-star emailed the now First Minister asking for help

Humza Yousaf has been accused of cronyism after helping pro-independence actor Martin Compston secure a coronavirus vaccine appointment for Schitt’s Creek star Emily Hampshire.

Both Mr Compston and Ms Hampshire were filming TV drama The Rig in Edinburgh during the pandemic, but kept “hitting a brick wall” when it came to trying to get Ms Hampshire vaccinated.

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It is understood Mr Compston emailed the First Minister, who at the time was serving as health secretary, to ask for a “bit of advice” about arranging an appointment for his Canadian co-star.

Martin Compston starred in the TV drama The Rig.Martin Compston starred in the TV drama The Rig.
Martin Compston starred in the TV drama The Rig.

Mr Compston, best known for starring in the hit TV series Line of Duty, appeared in a promotional video for the SNP before the 2015 general election and supported Mr Yousaf in his campaign launch for the 2021 Holyrood election.

The star sent the email on June 11, 2021 – one month after Mr Yousaf was appointed as health secretary – asking if Ms Hampshire was “eligible to turn up to any drop-in centres”.

Mr Yousaf is said to have forwarded Mr Compston’s email to his private office, which then passed it onto the Scottish Government’s health policy team, who in turn sent it onto NHS Lothian. The health board then arranged an appointment for the Hollywood actress.

At the time of this email being sent, much of the adult population in Scotland had received at least one vaccine dose and almost all over-60s had received a second dose.

Scottish Labour are now calling for Mr Yousaf to refer himself to the ethical standards commissioner for a possible breach of the ministerial code, amid claims this intervention allowed Ms Hampshire to jump the queue for a vaccine.

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said: “[Mr Yousaf] should have been acutely aware that intervening in the process on behalf of a personal friend looks, at the very least, highly suspicious and, at worst, a clear example of using his position to the advantage of those close to him.

“There are still many questions about what appears to be a serious breach of the ministerial code, and Humza Yousaf should immediately refer himself to the independent advisor to investigate the incident. The pandemic was a traumatic experience and every family in Scotland was touched by that. They expect more than this type of SNP and Tory cronyism.”

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Annie Wells, the Scottish Conservatives’ deputy chief whip, said this behaviour showed sharing pro-independence views and having a personal relationship with the now First Minister “boosted your chances of getting ahead in the race to be vaccinated”.

She said: “The public will find it remarkable that a month after being appointed as health secretary, Humza Yousaf thought helping out Martin Compston was a top priority.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “There was a huge volume of correspondence sent into the Scottish Government about vaccination during the Covid pandemic. As with other ministerial correspondence, this inquiry was passed to officials for actioning.”



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