Nicola Sturgeon under threat as MSPs call for Covid inquiry into ‘avoidable deaths’

Nicola Sturgeon grilled by Sarwar on handling of pandemic

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Nicola Sturgeon has clashed bitterly with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar over the First Minister’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Sarwar criticised the Scottish Government’s decision to allow mass gatherings in Glasgow at the start of the outbreak and the failure to place a protective ring around Scotland’s care homes. The SNP leader responded by admitting mistakes had been made during the course of the pandemic but told MSPs she was not looking to “shy away” from responsibility.

Mr Sarwar began by pulling apart the timeline of Scottish Government decisions during the early stages of the outbreak.

The Scottish Labour leader said: “In early March, both governments were talking about a strategy of herd immunity, on March 12 47,000 fans attended a European football match in Glasgow.

“That same day the Scottish Government said that stopping mass gatherings was not the best way to stop the virus.

“They were made illegal 11 days later by both governments.”

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Mr Sarwar continued: “Untested and Covid positive patients were being sent into care homes. UK Government announced routine testing on April 15, the Scottish government waited until April 21.

“The result? 1 in 10 of our care home residents in Scotland losing their lives to Covid.

“That is not a protective ring, 3,774 deaths a third of the total.

“So does the First Minister accept that these were decisions made in Scotland by this First Minister and by this Scottish Government.”

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Ms Sturgeon replied: “I am glad for him that Anas Sarwar has got the time to do timelines.

“There is nothing that he has just told me that I don’t know and there is nothing that I have saught to shy away from.

“I lived through that period as the lead decision-maker in the Scottish government.

“I take responsibility for all of the decisions I have never tried to shy away from it.”

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The SNP leader continued: “I live with the consequences of those decisions for as long as I live.

“And those decisions will be subject to serious scrutiny that is right and proper.

“We sought all along to do the right thing based on the knowledge and the understanding we had.

“In light of developing knowledge some of these things if we could turn the clock back we would do differently.”

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