First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has rejected a BBC report that claimed she was “enjoying the opportunity” to set her own lockdown rules.
During the broadcaster's 10 pm national news report, BBC Scotland Editor Sarah Smith said: “The Scottish Government say like all the UK Nations they base their advice on expert advice that they are given and it's got nothing to do with politics but it has been obvious that Nicola Sturgeon has enjoyed the opportunity to set her own lockdown rules and not have to follow what's happening in England or other parts of the UK.
“The gamble is whether or not people will continue to support her taking a different path when they’re living under more stringent restrictions than people in other parts of the United Kingdom.”
Nicola Sturgeon then retweeted a clip of the report posted by Erik Geddes - head of media at the SNP - who called it "shameful".
Ms Sturgeon said: “Never in my entire political career have I ‘enjoyed’ anything less than this. My heart breaks every day for all those who have lost loved ones to this virus.”
The segment was criticised by senior nationalists such as Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy, who called it ‘disrespectful’.
‘Politically motivated attacks’
The comments come less than a week after the outgoing BBC Scotland boss addressed concerns of 'politically motivated attacks’.
Donalda Mackinnon said the broadcaster's news coverage was "frequently used as a political football when journalism that doesn’t accord with a particular viewpoint upsets someone or other."
She said: " "I know that criticism focusing almost entirely on our news output is frequently unfair on our journalism teams, who try to the very best of their ability to ask questions of those in power that the public don’t get the chance to ask, and ask questions that those in power would sometimes rather we didn’t ask.
"Often, for whatever reason, those who criticise do not seem to realise, or choose to ignore, the fact that journalism exists is to cast light on matters of public interest and to challenge those in authority, no matter their political colour."
Sarah Smith has since responded directly to the First Minister on twitter.
The veteran presenter said she'd made a mistake and had meant to say "embraced" not “enjoyed".
Ms Smith said: “I do not believe that Nicola Sturgeon is enjoying this crisis. I had meant to say on the ten o’clock news that she has “embraced” the opportunity to make a policy unique to Scotland. I said “enjoyed” by mistake. Not suggesting she is enjoying crisis but embracing devolution.”
This statement prompted a response from the First Minister who said "the matter is now closed”.
Ms Sturgeon replied: “I’ve made clear my view on this report. I’m not ‘enjoying’ or ‘embracing’ an ‘opportunity’. I’m just doing what I judge best in very difficult circumstances. That said, I understand the scrutiny that comes with it and accept Sarah’s clarification. For me, the matter is closed.”
To this, Ms Smith concluded: “For the avoidance of doubt, I am sorry that by mistake I said last night that Nicola Sturgeon was “enjoying the opportunity” to set a different policy”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.