Sturgeon ‘forgot’ meeting about Salmond sex allegations

The First Minister has submitted evidence to Holyrood's Alex Salmond inquiry.

Inquiry: Sturgeon describes 'breakdown' in 30-year friendship with Salmond. SWNS
Inquiry: Sturgeon describes 'breakdown' in 30-year friendship with Salmond.

The First Minister has claimed she “forgot” about an encounter with Alex Salmond’s former chief of staff in March 2018 in which he mentioned “allegations of a sexual nature” against her predecessor.

Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs she first learned of harassment complaints against the former First Minister when he told her himself at a meeting between the pair on April 2, 2018.

But it later emerged she had met Salmond’s former top adviser Geoff Aberdein four days previously in the Scottish Parliament on March 29.

The First Minister has explained the events in newly-published written evidence to the Holyrood’s Salmond inquiry, while her husband, SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, has also written to the committee.

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Mr Murrell said he had “expressed himself poorly” in texts in January 2019 in which he suggested it was a “good time” to pressurise police over Salmond’s criminal case

But he added: “The messages have been presented in a way that suggests a meaning that they do not in reality have.”

Sturgeon was challenged over her husband’s messages in fiery exchanges at last week’s First Minister’s Questions, while she has also been accused of misleading parliament after pledging her government would fully cooperate with the inquiry.

The First Minister insisted she had personally submitted her written evidence months ago and that the committee had not yet chosen to publish it.

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The inquiry published Sturgeon’s submission on Wednesday as part of a tranche of new evidence, in which she looks to explain her role in the handling of complaints against Salmond that led to her predecessor successfully suing her government for more than £512,000 in damages.

Salmond was then cleared of sexual offences in a separate and subsequent criminal trial earlier this year.

Sturgeon described how the circumstances had caused her “a great deal of personal anguish” and a “breakdown” in her 30-year friendship with Salmond, but that she had “tried to do the right thing”.

And she refuted “in the strongest possible terms” any idea she conspired against her predecessor, adding: “It seems to me that what some want to present as ‘conspiracy’ is in actual fact my refusal to ‘collude’ or ‘cover up’.”

Included in her evidence is a stream of WhatsApp messages between herself and the former first minister dated from April to July 2018 in which they discuss meetings and aspects of the government’s investigation into Salmond.

The First Minister also sought to outline what she knew and when after her meeting with Mr Aberdein was revealed in the media in July and sparked suggestions then that she had misled MSPs.

Sturgeon wrote: “Alex Salmond told me on April 2, 2018 at a meeting at my home that complaints against him were being investigated under (the Scottish Government’s new complaints) procedure.

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“At that meeting, he showed me a copy of the letter he had received outlining the detail of the complaints.

“As has been reported already, four days earlier – March 29, 2018 – I had spoken with Geoff Aberdein (former chief of staff to Alex Salmond) in my office at the Scottish Parliament.

“Mr Aberdein was in parliament to see a former colleague and while there came to see me.

“I had forgotten that this encounter had taken place until I was reminded of it in, I think, late January/early February 2019.”

She added: “For context, I think the meeting took place not long after the weekly session of FMQs and in the midst of a busy day in which I would have been dealing with a multitude of other matters.

“However, from what I recall, the discussion covered the fact that Alex Salmond wanted to see me urgently about a serious matter, and I think it did cover the suggestion that the matter might relate to allegations of a sexual nature.”

The First Minister said her understanding around this time was Salmond was in “a state of considerable distress” and was considering resigning his SNP party membership.

But she insisted: “While I suspected the nature of what he wanted to tell me… it was Alex Salmond who told me on April 2 that he was being investigated under the procedure – and what the detail of the complaints was.

“It is this meeting – due to the nature of the information shared with me at it – that has always been significant in my mind.”

Sturgeon continued: “I suspected the reason Alex Salmond wanted to see me on April 2 was that he was facing an allegation of sexual misconduct.

“Although my contact with Mr Aberdein on March 29, 2018 may have contributed to that suspicion, it was not the only factor.”

She highlighted that in November 2017 she was aware of the SNP receiving an enquiry from Sky News about sexual misconduct claims against Salmond dating back to an alleged incident at Edinburgh Airport in 2008.

Sturgeon stressed Salmond denied the allegations when she spoke to him about it and, given the party had no knowledge of the complainers, there was “no further action” possible to take.

However, the First Minister said “even though he assured me to the contrary, all of the circumstances surrounding this episode left me with a lingering concern that allegations about Mr Salmond could materialise at some stage”.

Sturgeon explained the reasons she had agreed to the April 2 meeting with Salmond despite suspecting what it was about were “both political and personal”.

She went on: “I thought Mr Salmond may be about to resign from the SNP and that, as a result of this or other aspects of how he intended to handle the matter he was dealing with, the party could have been facing a public/media issue that we would require to respond to.”

“There is also the personal aspect,” the FM added.

“Mr Salmond has been closer to me than probably any other person outside my family for the past 30 years, and I was being told he was very upset and wanted to see me personally.”

Despite her suspicions, Sturgeon said she was “shocked and upset by the reality of what I read” during the April 2 meeting at her Glasgow home, when Salmond showed her a letter summarising the complaints against him.

She continued: “He gave me his reaction to the complaints – in the main he denied them, though in relation to one matter he said that he had previously apologised and considered it out of order for it to be raised again – and said that it was his intention to seek a process of mediation between himself and the complainers.

“It was also clear – contrary to what I had anticipated – that he did not intend to resign his party membership or do anything to make the matter public at that stage.

“I made clear to him that I had no role in the process and would not seek to intervene in it.”

The pair spoke again by phone later in April, she said, and she declined an invitation to meet at the end of May.

Then, on June 3, the “tone and content” of a text message he sent Sturgeon led her “to conclude that legal action by Mr Salmond against the Scottish Government was a serious prospect”.

Salmond’s message reveals his lawyers had prepared a draft petition for a judicial review, which he tells Sturgeon he has been advised has “excellent” prospects of success.

“You are perfectly entitled to intervene if it is brought to your attention that there is a risk of your government acting unlawfully in a process of which you had no knowledge,” he told the First Minister.

The Court of Session would go on in January 2019 to rule the Scottish Government’s handling of the complaints against Salmond was “unlawful”, “procedurally unfair” and “tainted with apparent bias”.

Three days after Salmond’s text, on June 6, Sturgeon wrote to the Scottish Government’s top civil servant – permanent secretary Leslie Evans – to make her aware of the situation and the potential for legal action against them.

The day after that, on June 7, the First Minister met her predecessor again in Aberdeen.

Part of the reason she decided to have this meeting was so she wasn’t “cornered” by Salmond at the SNP’s party conference in Aberdeen, she said, which started on June 8.

Sturgeon said she had not seen Salmond since July 14, when the pair had a “third and final” meeting at her home, and had not been in any kind of contact since July 20.

Concluding her submission to the committee, the First Minister wrote: “In what was a very difficult situation – personally, politically and professionally – I tried to do the right thing.

“Whether I always got it absolutely right is something I still reflect on, and the committee will consider, but I sought all along to act in good faith and to strike the right balance of judgment given the difficult issues I was confronted with.

“In the light of the #MeToo movement, I sought to ensure that the Scottish Government developed a process that allowed allegations of sexual harassment – including allegations of a historic nature – to be fully and fairly considered.”

She continued: “For the sake of the complainers, the Scottish Government and indeed Alex Salmond himself, I acted in a way that I judged would best protect the independence and confidentiality of the investigation.

“However, when I became aware of a serious risk of legal action against my
government, I felt I had a duty to make the permanent secretary aware of it.

“My view throughout was that complaints must be properly and fairly considered, no matter who the subject of them might be, or how politically inconvenient the investigations may be.

“And that remains my view, even though the circumstances and consequences of this particular investigation have caused me – and others, in many cases to an even greater extent – a great deal of personal anguish, and resulted in the breakdown of a relationship that had been very important to me, politically and personally, for most of my life.”

‘As many holes as Swiss cheese’

Opposition party MSPs seized on the First Minister’s written evidence as having “as many holes as Swiss cheese”.

Scottish Conservative spokesman on the Salmond inquiry, Murdo Fraser, said: “The SNP’s excuses are incredible and simply beyond belief. 

“We are expected to accept that Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister renowned for her grasp of detail, has the memory of a sieve when she’s told that her mentor of 30 years is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. 

“A meeting that would be seared in most people’s memory was immediately forgot all about. 

“She then went on to meet with Mr Salmond again and again, on what was clearly government business, all while pretending it was solely about the SNP. 

“It’s hard to know what’s more shocking – this evidence, the fact they think we’ll believe this pile of nonsense, or that this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

He added: “It’s now a matter of fact that the First Minister misled parliament.

“She did not find out on April 2 and she did not find out from Alex Salmond.”

Committee member and Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “The First Minister’s evidence to this committee raises many questions and could be described as having as many holes as a swiss cheese. 

“Despite senior figures in the SNP knowing of the alleged incident at Edinburgh Airport as early as 2008, the First Minister claims to have asked the First Minister about the veracity of the allegations in late 2017. 

“Was this because she ignored the allegations at the time or is it because the information had been sat on by other senior figures in the SNP, including her husband?”

Liberal Democrat committee member Alex Cole-Hamilton said the new evidence reveals there was “an offer on the table of independent arbitration which could have helped to resolve the issues at hand with a fraction of the cost and embarrassment that the Scottish Government eventually endured”.

He continued: “Alex Salmond’s messages are clear that his legal advisors considered his case at the judicial review to be a slam dunk.

“Surely that should have been sounding alarm bells in the Scottish Government. Instead they ploughed ahead at huge cost to the taxpayer.”

The Scottish Lib Dem MSP warned Sturgeon her evidence “leaves the committee with more questions than answers” – adding she will face “more detailed questions in person” when called to give oral evidence to the inquiry.

As well as Sturgeon’s submission, the committee also published on Wednesday written evidence from deputy FM John Swinney, advisers Liz Lloyd and Duncan Hamilton – and from SNP chief Mr Murrell.

The party chief executive, who married Sturgeon in 2010 when she was deputy first minister, said he wished he had “expressed myself more appropriately” concerning text messages about Salmond.

The messages, sent after the former SNP leader had been charged with various offences in January 2019, suggested it was “good time to be pressurising” police over the case, and that the “more fronts” the former First Minister is “having to firefight on the better”.

Writing to MSPs, Mr Murrell said: “The messages were sent the day after Mr Salmond had been charged with a number of serious offences.

“In the aftermath of this, the SNP was contacted by individuals who had specific, personal questions in relation to that criminal case.

“My intention was to advise that their questions should be addressed to the police and not the SNP.

“I acknowledge that I did not express myself well but I suggest that in the context of such a criminal case, directing people to the police was the only responsible thing to advise.”

He continued: “In relation to the second message, this has been presented as following on immediately from the first. That is inaccurate.

“However, my intended meaning was that any and all complaints should be appropriately investigated.

“The tone of it is a reflection of the shock, hurt and upset that I, and so many others in the SNP, felt that day given the events that had unfolded in court the previous day.

“As most people will appreciate, the immediacy of text messages lend themselves to informal, shorthand forms of expression but, even so, I would wish on reflection to have expressed myself more appropriately.”

Scotland’s five-tier coronavirus alert system revealed

Different parts of Scotland to be given their own level of restrictions under the plans.

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A proposed five-tier system of measures for dealing with coronavirus in Scotland has been revealed.

The plan – set to come into force on November 2 – ranges from life being “closest to normal” without a vaccine at level zero to almost a full lockdown at level four, when non-essential shops would close.

Level two will be similar to current rules outside central Scotland, with level three likened to those inside the central belt, where pubs and restaurants are closed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there were no plans to close schools, even under the strictest measures.

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Council areas in Scotland will each be given their own alert rating, with restrictions designed to match the risk of Covid spreading locally.

However, the whole country could be placed in the same level if necessary, Sturgeon said at her daily briefing, where she also revealed the week’s death toll from Covid-19 had reached 94.

The new system of restrictions has been anticipated since a similar three-tiered system was introduced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

MSPs will vote on whether to adopt the new the proposal next week.

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Earlier this month, temporary restrictions were brought in across Scotland and, although initially set to end on October 25, these were extended until the new tiered system comes into effect.

Since October 9, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaways.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

The hospitality industry has launched legal action to challenge the restrictions, which it says will cost jobs and force businesses to close permanently.

Indoor meetings with other households are also currently banned across Scotland.

Level by level at-a-glance

Zero

  • Most businesses can open
  • Eight people from three households are able to meet indoors
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One

  • Indoor visits restricted to six people from two households

Two

  • Limits on when pubs and restaurants can open
  • No indoor socialising
  • Six people from two households will be able to meet outdoors

Three

  • Closure of pubs, although restaurants can open in some circumstances

Four

  • Closure of non-essential shops

At a glance: Scotland’s new coronavirus levels system

The Scottish Government's new strategic framework for tackling the spread of Covid-19 has five tiers.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has outlined a new system for dealing with coronavirus.

It involves five levels, zero to four, and will come into effect on November 2, pending parliamentary approval of the framework on Tuesday.

Sturgeon said on Friday the central belt is currently living with the equivalent of level three restrictions in the new system and the rest of the country is living with restrictions that are the equivalent of level two.

The FM also said a final decision on where each local authority area will be placed in the new framework has not yet been made.

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Level zero will represent the closest to normal the country can get without effective treatment or a vaccine, whereas level four will be much closer to the full lockdown restrictions seen from the end of March.

The Scottish Government framework can be viewed here and at a glance below:

LEVEL ZERO:

Socialising – Eight people from three households can meet indoors. Fifteen people from five households can meet outdoors.

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Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

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Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 50 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL ONE:

Socialising – Six people from two households can meet indoors and outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open and can sell alcohol indoors and outdoors. But restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open.

Stadia and events – Outdoor events are permitted and spectators allowed in football stadiums with restricted numbers. Indoor events can go ahead with restricted numbers.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Open with the exception of adult entertainment and nightclubs.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL TWO:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors with another household. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes are open. Alcohol can be sold outdoors but only with a main meal indoors. Restrictions on opening hours may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. Level 2 hospitality rules apply.

Travel – No non-essential travel to/from areas of Scotland that are in level three or higher. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Face masks on public transport.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – open but mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – Only drive-in events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – Cinemas and amusement arcades can open. The following venues must close: soft play, funfairs, indoor bowling, theatres, snooker/pool halls, music venues, casinos, bingo halls, nightclubs and adult entertainment

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL THREE:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot sell alcohol indoors or outdoors. Restrictions on opening hours for eating out may apply.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation such as caravans and campsites are permitted to open. The guidance encourages non-essential use by locals only – not for tourists.

Travel – No non-essential travel into our out of the level three area. International quarantine regulations apply.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. Avoid non-essential use of public transport. Face coverings compulsory.

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians are open but may be subject to additional measures. Mobile close contact services not permitted.

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are open with protective measures in place.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – All allowed but with a 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 50 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Open but working from home is the default option.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

LEVEL FOUR:

Socialising – People cannot socialise indoors. Six people from two households can meet outdoors.

Hospitality – Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close.

Accommodation – Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation not open for tourists. Work-related essential use only.

Travel – No non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. If necessary, limits on travel distance, or a requirement to stay at home.

Transport – Avoid car sharing with people outside extended household wherever possible. No use of public transport, except for essential purposes. Face coverings compulsory

Retail and close contact services – Shops and close contact services – such as hairdressers, barbers, tailors and beauticians – must close. Mobile close contact services not permitted

Public buildings – Buildings such as libraries and museums are closed.

Stadia and events – No indoor or outdoor events permitted. Stadiums closed to spectators.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals – A maximum of five people allowed at weddings (six where an interpreter is required). Funerals and wakes subject to 20 person limit.

Places of worship – Open but restricted to 20 people.

Leisure and Entertainment – All venues closed.

Workplaces – Only essential indoor workplaces can open along with outdoor workplaces in sectors such as construction and engineering.

Schools – Open with standard protective measures in place.

Coronavirus: 18 more deaths and 1401 new cases in Scotland

The First Minister confirmed the latest figures at the daily briefing.

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Another 18 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland as the country recorded 1401 new cases.

The latest figures were revealed by the First Minister at the daily briefing.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – has risen to 2688.

Of the new cases recorded, 493 were in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 413 in Lanarkshire, 169 in Lothian and 117 in Ayrshire and Arran.

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There are currently 975 patients in hospital, who are confirmed to have the virus, 41 more than on Thursday.

Of these, 76 people are being treated in intensive care.

Activist charged by police at drug consumption van

Peter Krykant, 43, has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

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Police: Officers have charged a man.

An activist has been charged by police after officers attended at a drug consumption van in Glasgow.

Peter Krykant, 43, is campaigning for a change in the law, claiming the current legislation forces addicts to inject in unsafe conditions in filthy alleyways.

He has now been charged after police attended a drug consumption van in Parnie Street on Friday morning.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A 43-year-old man has been charged in connection with an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on Parnie Street in Glasgow during the morning of Friday, October 23.

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“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.”


Visiting restrictions to come into force at three hospitals

NHS Tayside has put restrictions in place at Perth Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital and Strathcaro Hospital.

© Google Maps 2020
Perth Royal Infirmary: Visiting restrictions will come into force on Monday.

New visiting restrictions will come into force at three hospitals across Tayside on Monday.

The health board said its clinical and public health teams made the “difficult decision” in order to curb the spread of coronavirus and protect vulnerable patients.

All wards at Perth Royal Infirmary will be restricted to visitors, along with all adult wards at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. The surgical unit wards at Strathcaro Hospital near Brechin have also been restricted.

Claire Pearce, NHS Tayside’s director of nursing and midwifery, said: “We understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital is distressing for many people. 

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“However it is vital that we keep our patients, staff and the public safe. We hope everyone understands that we have made this difficult decision for these reasons.”  

Four wards across Tayside already have restricted visiting due to outbreaks of Covid-19.

The health board said the virus is “circulating widely in the community”, with the current incidence rate within Dundee higher than some of the local authorities in the central belt that are under enhanced restrictions.

NHS Tayside said there are almost 50 patients with confirmed coronavirus in its hospitals, along with a number of suspected cases.

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Despite the restrictions, visiting can continue in specific circumstances, for example for patients receiving end-of-life care. 

The public can continue to visit:

  • Tayside Children’s Hospital.
  • Maternity and neonatal wards. Partners can continue to attend for births, scans and antenatal appointments.
  • Mental health facilities, including Carseview Centre.
  • Community hospitals.

Anyone with a question about visiting should contact the senior charge nurse in the ward to discuss their individual situation.  

Ms Pearce added: “In order to manage the number of patients with the virus, we are using our three acute hospitals flexibly with patients and staff moving between the sites. 

“This means that we must restrict visiting in all three sites to help further reduce the number of people coming into our hospitals each day and help limit the spread of coronavirus. 

“We will continue to offer virtual visiting for patients using telephones, tablets and laptops to allow people to keep in touch with their loved ones.” 

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Hospital: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

Meanwhile, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is calling on the public to heed current guidelines to minimise the number of new hospital admissions following a surge in coronavirus case numbers.

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There are currently more than 500 patients in hospital across the region with the virus.

The health board has now implemented red, amber and green patient pathways across its sites to separate Covid from non-Covid patients to minimise the spread of the virus.

There are currently 20 red wards which are exclusively treating patients with Covid-19. 

Dr Scott Davidson, deputy medical director for acute services at NHSGGC, said: “Numbers are continuing to rise across Scotland, and Greater Glasgow and Clyde has been the worst affected region in the country. 

“It is absolutely critical the public follows the guidelines to ensure that our staff are able to continue effectively managing and treating both Covid and non-Covid patients.

“During this time we are maintaining a programme of elective surgery but this also means that we are currently looking after more patients than ever before, so while the numbers of Covid-19 patients may not yet have reached March’s peak levels, there is as much pressure on our staff across services.

“We would like to remind the public of the current policies in relation to using health services, as minimising unnecessary footfall plays a huge role in preventing the spread of the virus, and allows our staff to focus on delivering the best care possible.”

Health service guidance

  • Attend hospital appointments alone unless you fall into one of the specific support categories
  • Please only use emergency departments in an emergency.
  • Community assessment centres are there to provide support to those with Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Community health practices and pharmacies are still available alongside out-of-hours services, which you can access by calling 111.

FACTS guidance:

F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport.

A – Avoid crowded places.

C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible.

T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.

S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms.

For more information, click here.

 


Family of murder victim: ‘Life will never be the same’

A 43-year-old man has now been charged over the death of Daniel Greer, 33, from North Lanarkshire.

Police Scotland via Facebook / Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Murder: Officers have arrested and charged a suspect.

The family of a North Lanarkshire man who was murdered in his own home has said “life will never be the same” without him.

The body of Daniel Greer, 33, was discovered within his house in Rankin Crescent, in the village of Greengairs, at around 12.55pm on Monday.

In a statement, his family said: “He was a much loved member of our family and he will be sadly missed.

“My darling boy Daniel, life will never be the same without you.

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“We will always love you.”

On Friday morning, police confirmed a 43-year-old man had been arrested in connection with the death. The force later confirmed the suspect has now been charged.

He is due to appear at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

Detective superintendent Kevin Jamieson said: “I’d like to thank the local people in the Greengairs and Airdrie communities for their assistance during this inquiry and to assure them that a significant police presence will remain in the area at this time.”


Brown leads Scotland to resounding victory over Georgia

Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action at Murrayfield with an eight-try 48-7 victory.

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Champ: Scotland's Fraser Brown fends off Beka Saghinadze.

Fraser Brown scored two tries on his first appearance as Scotland captain as Gregor Townsend’s side returned to action with an eight-try 48-7 victory over Georgia.

With Stuart Hogg aiming to complete a trophy double with new European champions Exeter, Brown was handed the armband on his 51st international appearance and marked the occasion by crossing twice after lineout mauls.

Georgia could not handle the driving maul and Hamish Watson and Stuart McInally both went over from the same source.

Darcy Graham had opened the scoring early on and the Scotland backs weighed in as the game opened up in the latter stages.

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Graham grabbed a late second after his fellow Edinburgh winger, Duhan Van Der Merwe, grabbed a try on his Scotland debut before Blair Kinghorn got in on the act.

Van Der Merwe’s fellow South African, Oli Kebble, also won his first cap after coming off the bench with Finn Russell, making his 50th Scotland appearance and his first this year after losing his place following a disciplinary issue prior to the Guinness Six Nations.

Scotland were on the front foot immediately as they warmed up for next weekend’s Six Nations finale in Wales, and there were little over two minutes gone when Graham produced a dummy after his own tap penalty which made space for him to claim his sixth try on his 11th international outing.

The home side remained on top without making the most of their possession but their forwards ensured Townsend’s team went into half-time with a commanding lead thanks to two tries in five minutes following lineout mauls.

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Hooker Brown joined the back of the maul after his own throw and got the final touch as the Georgian pack were driven back in the 26th minute. Rory Sutherland then fed Watson to go over on the left wing.

Scotland were confined to a 17-0 half-time lead after failing to convince French referee Alexandre Ruiz that they had got the crucial touch after forcing the Georgian defence back over their own line again.

Cornell Du Preez, who was on for the injured Matt Fagerson, emerged from a pile of bodies claiming a try but television footage could not clear up who grounded the ball.

Georgia got off the mark inside five minutes of the restart after quickly turning a scrum from almost 40 metres out into a try. Scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze’s pass to Akaki Tabutsadze looked forward but Scott Cummings had got a fingertip to it which ensured the winger’s score counted.

Scotland responded immediately as Brown produced a carbon copy of his first-half try.

Scotland made four changes with Kebble and Russell among those coming on and McInally replacing Brown before emulating his fellow hooker with another try from the lineout maul.

Russell gave Scotland a new edge and the game opened up for Scotland’s backs in the latter stages.

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The Racing 92 fly-half fed Van Der Merwe with a close-range pass for the wide man to run through a huge gap in the 70th minute, and Graham went over after another lineout five minutes later.

Kinghorn scored in the final moments after following up on his own kick forward.


Scotland triumph over Albania in bid to reach Euros

Shelley Kerr’s team won 3-0 at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh on Friday night.

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Winners: Scotland triumphed over Albania on Friday night.

Scotland have triumphed over Albania in their bid to reach the European Championships.

Shelley Kerr’s team won 3-0 at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh on Friday night.

Captain Rachel Corsie headed home the first goal at 37mins.

Caroline Weir netted the final two, the first at 75mins and the second from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

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It was the team’s first international game since a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in the Pinatar Cup tournament in March.

They will now continue their UEFA Women’s Championship campaign by travelling to Helsinki to take on group leaders Finland on Tuesday.

Scotland currently sit second in Group E, with three wins from three.


St Mirren’s match against Hamilton postponed after Covid outbreak

St Mirren don't have enough players to fulfill Saturday's fixture.

Ross Parker via SNS Group
St Mirren have been hit with another series of positive tests,

The SPFL have confirmed that St Mirren’s Premiership match against Hamilton on Saturday has been postponed as a result of the Paisley club’s latest coronavirus outbreak.

The club says a number of positive cases have been discovered to add to several players already self-isolating.

That has left St Mirren without enough players to fulfil the fixture, meaning they miss their second consecutive game after the match against Motherwell was called off last weekend.

A statement from the SPFL read: “Tomorrow’s Scottish Premiership match between St Mirren and Hamilton Academical has been postponed after St Mirren informed the SPFL that they could not fulfil the fixture.

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“St Mirren have informed the SPFL that, due to a number of positive tests for Covid-19 amongst their playing squad and coaching staff, and a number of other players who are isolating, they have only eleven registered fit players available for tomorrow’s game against Hamilton Academical – and that, as a result, St Mirren are unable to fulfil tomorrow’s fixture.

“As a result, and in line with standard procedure, the SPFL have postponed the fixture pending the ongoing investigation into the events at St Mirren.”


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