Ian Blackford: 'Sharp difference' between Scottish and Westminster governments' handling of Covid crisis

There was a “sharp difference” between the Scottish and UK governments’ handling of the Covid crisis, the SNP’s Westminster leader has insisted.

Ian Blackford said the Scottish Government’s leadership of the crisis had been a stark contrast to that of Boris Johnson’s government, citing examples such as Covid policies being leaked quietly to specific press, rather than the government being open with the public.

Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he said the Scottish Government had acknowledged mistakes, such as discharging care home residents from hospital without Covid tests.

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He said: “I think the public in Scotland recognised the leadership that the Scottish Government's given.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said there was a 'sharp difference' between the Scottish and Westminster government's communications during the pandemic.

"It was interesting, Dominic Cummings was criticising the First Minister for giving information through public briefings to the public, post Cobra meetings and that actually was in sharp contrast to what we saw from Westminster.

"We’ve had things given to Sunday newspapers, articles often behind paywalls.

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“I think there was a sharp difference in the way that the Scottish Government has tried to give leadership to this crisis and that, of course, has reflected public attitudes towards the different governments.

"It is the case that everyone, of course, will repeat mistakes as we go through this pandemic and there is a world of difference in the way that the Scottish Government has behaved over this crisis and the shambles that we see from Westminster.”

He described the evidence that has come out from Mr Johnson’s former chief advisor, Mr Cummings, about the Prime Minister’s attitude early in the crisis as “chilling”.

He said: “It's chilling in one respect, just to hear the evidence come out from Dominic Cummings about the absolute shortcomings and failures.”

On Wednesday, Mr Cummings accused Nicola Sturgeon of undermining the four-nations approach to the Covid pandemic because ministers were concerned about what she would say in her briefing.

Giving evidence to the Commons health and social care, and science and technology committees, Mr Cummings also claimed Boris Johnson suggested that he should get injected with coronavirus “live on TV” to show the virus was nothing to be worried about.

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