Health secretary slams SNP MSP for keeping surgeries open

Jeane Freeman branded MSP John Mason 'neither an exception nor exceptional' after he announced his office would stay open.

Mason: Plans to keep office open 9am to 5pm this week.
Mason: Plans to keep office open 9am to 5pm this week.

Health secretary Jeane Freeman has criticised an SNP MP for keeping his office open for surgeries with members of the public.

Freeman urged Shettleston MSP John Mason not to keep his office open as normal given social distancing advice to avoid non-essential contact amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The health secretary castigated Mason for his approach, saying “you are neither an exception nor exceptional”.

In a statement on Twitter, Mason declared his office would remain open from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, “to be as available as possible to constituents”.

The Glasgow-based MSP said he would hold surgeries in his office on Monday and Friday afternoons.

The health secretary pleaded with her party colleague: “Please don’t do this.”

She added: “Follow the clear health guidance – you are neither an exception nor exceptional.”

On Sunday, Nicola Sturgeon stressed again the social distancing guidance is “not optional”, which urges people to limit contacts, avoid unnecessary travel and work from home is possible.

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