Nicola Sturgeon will not do Covid daily briefings in run-up to Scottish election

Nicoa Sturgeon will not do daily briefings on the coronavirus pandemic in the run-up to the Holyrood election, vowing that she does not want to “abuse” her position as First Minister.

She told MSPs at the Scottish Parliament’s Covid-19 committee on Wednesday the public would “see more” of national clinical director Jason Leitch and chief medical officer Dr Gregor Smith during the purdah period ahead of the May vote.

However, Ms Sturgeon refused to rule out addressing the public if major decisions had to be made, although she said that could be done in Parliament rather than at a press conference.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appeared at the Covid-19 committee this morning.

In a response to a question from Labour’s Monica Lennon, Ms Sturgeon said: “We haven’t come to a final detailed decision on this right now. Already the daily briefs are happening less frequently, I haven’t done one this week.

"I remain First Minister and ministers remain ministers, so we have to be accountable during a health crisis and have to have the ability to communicate directly with the public. I am a democrat and I understand the import of level playing fields in elections and I will act appropriately.

"You will undoubtedly not have me doing daily briefings every day the way I have been doing them previously. But if there are big decisions that we are having to make during the election, period, then I have a duty to communicate to the public what they are.

“It’s open to Parliament to say that I should do that in Parliament rather than at a daily briefing and those discussions will be open.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “I suspect you will be seeing even more of Greg and Jason – than you have already in the past year – in terms of a day-to-day basis.

"I fully understand the importance of the election and democratic process and it is not in my interest in any way to be seen as abusing the position of First Minister and I will absolutely not do that.”

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