Nicola Sturgeon slams UK government on publication of figures
Nicola Sturgeon used Monday’s coronavirus press briefing to slam the UK for blocking the Scottish Government from releasing vaccine data. Ms Sturgeon admitted that she voiced her “frustration” at Michael Gove on Saturday after accusing UK ministers of briefing vaccine data to the press. This comes amid growing criticism of Ms Sturgeon over Scotland’s rollout of the vaccine, which continues to lag behind the rest of the UK.
During Monday’s briefing, the Scottish First Minister was pressed on how much of the UK’s vaccine supply had been allocated to Scotland.
She responded: “We have been asked by the UK Government not to give figures the doses that have been allocated to us because they say it is commercially confidential.
“Notwithstanding we have agreed for the moment not to publish those figures, UK Government ministers continue to brief them to the press, and that is a source of some contention.
“I had a four nations call on Saturday chaired by Michael Gove, where I expressed my frustration.”
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The SNP leader continued: “I want to get to a position where we have an understanding that we all agree that we don’t publish these, or we publish them properly.
“If they are going to be briefed, I would rather we published them properly and transparently
“I hope people will realise it’s not political to say it’s not fair to stop the Scottish Government from releasing figures when another Government is briefing them out to the press.”
The backlash online was swift, with one accusing Ms Sturgeon of “politicising on the daily SNP broadcast again”.
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One viewer said: “Sturgeon really can’t help herself. Still going on about the vaccine supplies and not being able to release the figures. For God’s sake just leave it.”
Another added: “If others have briefed the figures, why not quote those figures? Nationalist SNP point scoring!”
Others accused Ms Sturgeon of trying to divert attention away from the slow rollout by attacking the UK, accusing her of “running out of excuses”.
This comes amid criticism of Scotland’s vaccine rollout, with Donald Cameron, the Scottish Tories’ Shadow Health Secretary, claiming Ms Sturgeon was making “hollow excuses”.
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Mr Cameron said there was “growing evidence of there being serious problems unique to Scotland”.
It emerged that a record 539,691 people in England were given their first dose on Saturday compared to only 22,899 in Scotland.
Taking into account their relative populations, this means England’s roll-out was more than twice as fast.
Over the weekend, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack confirmed that nearly half of Scotland’s vaccines are still sitting in cold storage.
Willie Rennie, the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said people were angry that “the vaccine is stuck in storage”.
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