MSP emails constituent ‘tweak my usual response’ in gaffe

Conservative Adam Tomkins caught in blunder after constituent wrote to him about Covid wedding restrictions.

MSP emails constituent ‘tweak my usual response’ in gaffe Getty Images
Adam Tomkins: Conservative MSP is standing down at next election.

A senior Conservative MSP has accidentally replied to a concerned constituent by asking a staffer to “tweak my usual Covid response”.

The constituent had contacted a number of Glasgow MSPs, including Tory Adam Tomkins, about limits on wedding guest numbers as a result of the pandemic.

In his letter, the man explained he is due to get married soon and that he works in hospitality management, saying he has seen the “devastating effect” the cap on guests is having on the sector.

Tomkins replied, in a message intended for internal use: “You can tweak my usual Covid response to fit this one, I think.”

He said he has since apologised to the constituent for the “administrative error”.

Exchanges showing the blunder were posted in a popular Facebook wedding group, with the Conservative MSP criticised for “using generic copy and pasted responses to constituents’ concerns”.

Email: MSP slammed over 'copy and paste' responses to Covid concerns.
Email: MSP slammed over ‘copy and paste’ responses to Covid concerns.

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, along with funerals and wakes, are exempt from the coronavirus “rule of six”.

Up to 20 people are allowed to attend such events in Scotland provided they are in regulated venues like hotels where public health guidance can be strictly followed.

But in his plea to local MSPs, the Glasgow constituent called more flexibility on numbers for venues which are larger or have better ventilation.

He continued: “As someone who is currently planning their wedding and someone who works in the hospitality industry at management level I know the devastating effect these limits are having on the industry and believe that these different measures deserve to be debated…

“I also believe that this could aid mental well-being of vendors, venue staff, registrars and celebrants, couples due to get married and the family and friends of those due to get married.

“I appreciate the safety of the public is the biggest concern, as it should be, but I believe this could be a way to increase numbers, help the industry and the wider economy.”

The email was also addressed to Glasgow MSPs Johann Lamont, Patrick Harvie, James Kelly, Pauline McNeill, Annie Wells and Anas Sarwar.

Tomkins, who serves as the Tories’ constitution spokesman, announced earlier this year he is not standing in the 2021 Holyrood election.

The MSP said: “I’ve been in touch with the constituent and have apologised for the administrative error.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Having announced he is not seeking re-election to Holyrood, it appears Adam Tomkins’ full focus may no longer be on the day job and the needs of his constituents.”