Scots Tories call on Sturgeon to justify lockdown approach

Jackson Carlaw has asked the FM to publish the evidence she is using as basis for adopting different stance from UK Government.

Scots Tories call on Sturgeon to justify lockdown approach Getty Images

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives has asked Nicola Sturgeon to publish the evidence she is using as the basis for taking a different approach to the UK Government on easing lockdown measures.

In a letter to the First Minister, Jackson Carlaw MSP said “we can’t have weeks go by where she asserts a position without the detailed reasons for it being revealed”.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on Sunday evening, saying the UK can now start to take “the first careful steps” towards easing some measures.

But many of the new changes announced by Johnson only apply to England because the leaders of all the devolved governments – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have refused to adopt the UK Government’s new “stay alert” message, instead keeping the “stay at home” slogan.

Carlaw said: “The Scottish Government has now asserted that such differences are now sufficiently material such as to justify different, all be it continued and essentially unchanged, advice in Scotland.

“It is important that the rationale underpinning this conclusion is both understood and is transparent,” he added.

The Scottish Conservative leader wants Sturgeon to publish the R numbers she believes apply to Scotland and elsewhere in the UK on a daily basis.

The R number, or reproduction number, is a way of measuring a disease’s ability to spread.

Further steps on easing lockdown restrictions and reopening sections of society depend on the rate of Covid-19 transmission staying safely below one.

Carlaw asks in his letter why the Scottish Government believe the R number to be higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, adding: “Given that Scotland went into lockdown at an earlier phase in the development of the virus than London, should we have not anticipated that the lockdown measures would have proved relatively more effective?”

Sturgeon said at the Scottish Government’s daily briefing on Monday that the R number suggests “we are slightly behind England on the curve”.

The First Minister has also stressed the “stay at home” message remains in place in Scotland despite Johnson announcing his “conditional plan” to reopen society.

In an interview on Good Morning Britain, she said: “If you live in England, you take your advice from the Prime Minister and it’s for the Prime Minister to set out clearly why he thinks these decisions are right.

“The state of the virus in Scotland is such that I think the stay at home message is the one we must stick to.”

When questioned by Piers Morgan on whether she believed Johnson was addressing the whole of the UK on Sunday night, she responded: “Boris Johnson is making decisions based on the evidence and data he sees in England.

“If you live in Scotland you should, with the greatest respect, take your advice from the Scottish Government and listen to what I’m saying.”

Scots are now able to go outside for exercise as many times a day as they like during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Previously, people were restricted to only going out for exercise – such as walking, running or cycling – once a day.

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