Government ministers sorry after campaign Covid breaches

Graeme Dey and John Swinney left 'mortified' after breaking the rules, the First Minister said.

Government ministers sorry after campaign Covid breaches PA Media

Nicola Sturgeon has said two of her ministers were “pretty mortified” after breaking coronavirus rules after they were pictured campaigning with groups of activists.

Graeme Dey, the minister who first announced the election coronavirus rules to MSPs, broke those rules by holding an outdoor gathering which he later apologised for.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also apologised after he took a selfie with four other SNP activists while out leafleting.

The First Minister was asked about these breaches at her coronavirus briefing on Tuesday – the first time the briefing has taken place during the election period.

She said no-one was infallible, referring to her own “mishap” over Christmas where she was seen speaking to others without a mask.

Sturgeon said: “The ministers, Graeme and John, who made a mistake around the size of gatherings when they were leafleting, were in the wrong.

“Both of them have apologised. If, as many of you do, you know either of them and how seriously they take their responsibilities – they are both pretty mortified at having done that.

“None of us, unfortunately, are perfect and none of us are infallible.

“I think it’s really important that when people like me who are asking people to follow these rules do slip up you’re really upfront about it and apologise and continue to ask people to do the right thing for all of the right reasons.”

The rule breach by Dey, the parliamentary business minister, was first reported in The Courier newspaper.

Scotland’s coronavirus election rules, set out by Dey to the Scottish Parliament on March 2, allow leafleting subject to restrictions on group size.

Car-sharing and street stalls are prohibited, while doorstep campaigning is due to take place from April 6 onwards, depending on the prevalence of the virus.

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