Sturgeon’s speech in full as new restrictions revealed

The First Minister has announced new measures aimed at preventing a second wave.

Sturgeon: New restrictions for Scots.
Sturgeon: New restrictions for Scots.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new raft of restrictions for Scotland in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday the First Minister revealed new measures including those effecting pub closing times and household gatherings.

It comes as a further 383 confirmed cases of the virus were confirmed.

Here is her speech in full:


Sturgeon: “Thank you Presiding Officer.

“I want to update the chamber on additional restrictions that the Scottish Government believes are now necessary to get COVID back under control as we enter winter.

“I will also set out why these measures are essential, and the principles and priorities that have guided our decisions.

“First, though, let me provide a summary of today’s statistics.


“Since yesterday, an additional 383 cases of COVID have been confirmed.

“That represents 7.6% of people newly tested, and takes the total number of cases to 25,009.

“A total of 73 patients are currently in hospital with confirmed COVID, which is the same as yesterday.

“And 10 people are in intensive care which is two more than yesterday.

“I am also sorry to report that in the past 24 hours, one further death has been registered of a patient who had tested positive.

“The total number of deaths in Scotland under that measurement is now 2,506.

“That reminds us of the impact of COVID. These deaths are not just statistics – they are of real people whose loss is a source of heartbreak and my condolences go to everyone who has lost a loved one to this illness.


“Today’s figures reflect the course the virus has taken in recent weeks.

“In mid-July, we were recording an average of nine new cases every day.

“Around four weeks later, that had risen to an average of 52 a day.

“Three weeks after that, it was 102.

“And as of today the average daily number of cases is 285.

“We have also seen an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive. In late August, that percentage was consistently below 1%.

“Today it is over 7%.

“The R number is above 1 again, possibly as high as 1.4.

“Now it is worth stressing that this growth in cases – because of the collective sacrifices we all made to drive infection levels down over the summer period – is from a low base.

“It is also, at this stage, far less rapid than it was in March.

“But it is rising, faster than we can be comfortable with and we cannot let it continue unchecked.

“And while in recent weeks, the biggest number of new cases has been in people under the age of 40, we now see an increase amongst the older population too.

“And unsurprisingly, in light of that, hospital and intensive care admissions and also deaths are starting to rise as well. All of this underlines what, for me, is, and always has been, a key point, We cannot and must not be complacent about COVID.

“It kills too many old and vulnerable people. And for younger, healthier people, while the risks of dying from it are much lower – though not non-existent – it can still result in long term, serious health problems.

“That’s why action to bring it back under control is necessary – and to bring the R number down again, the action we take now must go beyond the step we announced almost two weeks ago to restrict indoor and outdoor gatherings to six people from two households.

“Over the weekend and in the course of yesterday the Scottish Government considered a range of options. On Saturday, I had a discussion with other devolved administrations, and I spoke to the Prime Minister yesterday.

“I also took part in this morning’s COBR meeting. I’m pleased to say that at that meeting, all four UK governments committed to suppressing the virus to the lowest possible level and keeping it there.

“Our challenge in the weeks to come is to ensure our actions are commensurate with this objective.

“Following on from the COBR meeting, measures to further control the virus were agreed at the Scottish Government Cabinet.

“I can confirm that we will introduce measures on hospitality similar to those outlined for England by the Prime Minister a short while ago – and thereby align as far as possible with the rest of the U.K.

“However, the advice given to the Cabinet by the Chief Medical Officer and the National Clinical Director is that this on its own will not be sufficient to bring the R number down.

“They stress that we must act, not just quickly and decisively, but also on a scale significant enough to have an impact on the spread of the virus.

“And they advise that we must take account of the fact that household interaction is a key driver of transmission.

“To that end, we intend – as Northern Ireland did yesterday – to also introduce nationwide additional restrictions on household gatherings, similar to those already in place in the West of Scotland.

“I will say more about the detail of these measures shortly and, of course, full details will also be published on the Scottish Government’s website.

“But first let me be clear about the priorities that have guided our decisions.

“And it is essential that we do think in terms of priorities. Faced with a global pandemic of an infectious and dangerous virus, it is not possible to do everything and it is not possible, unfortunately, to live our lives completely normally.

“No country is able to do that just now. So instead we have to decide what matters most to us and make trade-offs elsewhere to make those things possible.

“Of course, the most important priority for all of us is saving lives and protecting health. But there are other priorities too.

“Firstly, we are determined to keep schools open and young people in education. That is vital to the health, wellbeing and future prospects of every young person across our country.

“Second, we must restart as many previously paused NHS services as possible, so that more people can get the non-COVID treatment that they need. Our NHS must be equipped this winter to care for those who have COVID – and it will be.

“But it must be there for people with heart disease, cancer and other illnesses too.

“And, third, we must protect people’s jobs and livelihoods – that means keeping businesses open and trading as normally as is feasible.

To achieve all of that, we must stop the virus from spiralling out of control and we can only do that if we accept restrictions in other aspects of our lives.

“Now the more positive news is that because we did drive COVID down to low levels over the summer, and because we now have Test & Protect in place and functioning well, the restrictions can be more targeted than was the case earlier in the year.

“The measures I am announcing today are tough – I am not going to pretend otherwise – but they do not represent a full scale lockdown of the kind imposed in March.

“Indeed, on the contrary, today’s measures are an attempt to avoid the need for another lockdown.

“I also want to address talk that there has been in recent days about restrictions being needed for six months or more.

“It is certainly the case, that until scientific developments such as a vaccine change the game in the battle against COVID, it will have a continuing impact on our lives.

“But that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the new restrictions I am announcing today will be in place for six months.

“By acting early and substantially, our hope is that these new measures will be in place for a shorter period than would be the case if we waited longer to act.

“In the first instance, we will review these measures in three weeks – although given the nature of this virus, it is important to be clear that they may be needed for longer than that.

“So let me set out the package of measures that we hope can bring COVID back under control.

“I will focus first on those areas where we intend to reinforce existing guidance and provide better support for compliance.

“Firstly, everyone who can work from home, should work from home.  

“That has, of course, been the Scottish Government advice throughout, but we are reinforcing and underlining it today.

“To employers, if you have encouraged workers back to the office who could be working from home, please rethink that now.

“We know not everyone wants to work from home – and we know it has an impact on our town and city centres – but with the virus on the rise again, home working limits the numbers of people on public transport and limits the numbers of people gathering together for lengthy prolonged periods indoors. That is why it is so important.

“Now we want employers to comply with this advice voluntarily as indeed the vast majority do. But we want to be clear today that if necessary we will put a legal duty on businesses to allow home working where possible.

“Second, we intend in the coming days, through media and social media, to reinforce the central importance of the FACTS advice – face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning hands and hard surfaces, keeping two metres distance and self-isolating and booking a test if you have symptoms.

“At the start of the pandemic, compliance with basic hygiene measures  was very strong.

“That really does make a difference – we know that – and it is just as important now, perhaps even more so, as it was back then.

“So I am asking everyone today to make a conscious and renewed effort to comply with all of this advice.

“And third – and related to that last point – we will introduce a package of support for people who are asked to self-isolate.

“Self-isolation of people with symptoms awaiting a test, people who test positive and household and other close contacts of such people is  absolutely essential to helping break the chains of transmission.

“But we know self-isolation is hard. It asks a lot of people and, for some, the financial implications make it even more difficult, perhaps even impossible.

“So we intend, firstly, to raise awareness of the importance of self-isolation and what it entails. I believe that ensuring people fully understand why we are asking them to do difficult things and exactly what it is they need to do is the first crucial step to ensuring compliance.

“Next, we are working with local authorities to ensure that when someone is asked by Test & Protect to self-isolate, they will be contacted proactively and offered essential practical support – for example help with delivery of food and other essentials.

“And, most importantly, we will introduce financial support of £500 for those on low incomes. More detail of this scheme will be published shortly.

“As I said yesterday, we will keep issues of enforcement for non-compliance with self-isolation under review.

“However, our judgment at this stage – particularly given the spirit of solidarity that is so essential in this fight against COVID – is that supporting people to do the right thing is much more effective than threatening harsh punishment if they can’t.

“Presiding Officer,

“Let me turn now to the new restrictions that we consider are necessary to bring the virus back under control.

“First, as I indicated earlier, we will introduce a strict nationwide curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants. From Friday, pubs, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 10pm.

“Now, people sometimes ask me why we don’t just close pubs again altogether – and I understand that sentiment.

“The answer – to be frank – is that we are seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“If the Scottish Government had greater powers to borrow money, or the ability to extend the Job Retention Scheme, for example, it is possible that we could reach a different balance of judgment on some of these issues.

“But we don’t. So this decision today means that we can reduce the amount of time people are able to spend in licensed premises, thereby curtailing the spread of the virus, while still allowing businesses to trade and provide jobs.

“This is the best balance we can strike for now. But I want to be clear with the hospitality trade about this.

“Notwithstanding the economic implications, further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable – locally or nationally – if the rules within pubs and restaurants on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers in groups, and the distance between them are not fully complied with.

“I want to thank those businesses, I believe the majority, that are making huge efforts to ensure compliance.

“However, to ensure that this is the case for all, we will be providing resources for additional Environmental Health Officers and asking local authorities to significantly step up inspection and enforcement.

“Let me turn now to the most difficult part of today’s announcement – further restrictions on household gatherings.

“We know from the data available to us through Test & Protect that a high proportion of new cases come from social interactions between different households in our homes.

“We also know from Test & Protect – and perhaps more so from our own experiences – that it is much more difficult to maintain physical distance – and have, for example, good ventilation – inside our own homes.

“We also know that when the virus infects one person in a household it is highly likely to affect others in the same household. It will also infect people visiting that household, who will in turn take it back to their households.

“Therefore, difficult though this is, any serious effort to reduce the R number below 1, which must be our objective, must take account of this key driver of transmission and it must seek to break that driver of transmission.

“So after careful consideration, we have decided that from tomorrow, to be reviewed every three weeks, and with exceptions that I will come on to, visiting other households will not be permitted.

“To be clear, this extends the restriction that has been in place across the West of Scotland for the past three weeks to all of Scotland. Regulations giving effect to this change will come into force on Friday, but I am asking people to comply from tomorrow.

“One of the reasons we have decided to do this is that our early data suggests this restriction is starting to slow the increase of cases in the West of Scotland.

“So if we take the difficult decision to extend it nationwide now, in an early and preventative way, we hope it will help to bring the R number down and the virus back under control.

“There will be exceptions for those living alone, or alone with children, who form extended households; for couples in non-cohabiting relationships; for the provision of informal childcare by, for example, grandparents; and for tradespeople.

“But for everyone else visiting each other’s houses will, for now, not be permitted.

“These new restrictions apply to people’s homes – in other words, to private indoor spaces.

“Rules for meeting other people in public indoor spaces that are subject to strict regulation and guidance, remain the same – you can meet with one other household only and in groups of no more than six people.

“As I said earlier, we will be working with local authorities to strengthen inspection and enforcement in indoor public places and enforcement action, including closure if necessary, will be taken against shops, pubs, restaurants or other premises that do not ensure compliance.

“You can also continue to meet with one other household in groups of up to six people outdoors, including in private gardens.

“Outdoors, though, we intend to exempt children under 12 – both from the limit of six and the limit of two households. There will be no limits on the ability of children under 12 to play together outdoors.

“And young people aged 12 to 18 will be exempt from the two household limit – they will be able to meet together outdoors in groups of up to six, though we will need to monitor this carefully and let me stress that this is outdoors only.

“And let me say to teenagers in particular – I know how miserable this is for you and I am so grateful for your patience. We are trying to give you as much flexibility as we can at this vitally important time of your lives. In return, please work with us and do your best to stick to the rules, for everyone’s sake.

“Presiding Officer,

“The last new restriction I want to cover today relates to travelling by car. It may seem minor but it is important.

“We know, again from Test & Protect data, that sharing car journeys presents a significant risk of transmission.

“We are therefore advising against car sharing with people outside your own household.

“Finally, I think it’s important that I indicate today, in light of the current situation, that the route map changes with an indicative date of 5 October are unlikely now to go ahead on that timescale.

“Presiding Officer

“I also want to touch briefly today on an issue that has been the subject of media speculation in recent days – namely the possibility of a so called circuit breaker, timed to coincide with the October school break, and during which people would be given much more comprehensive advice to stay at home.

“The Scottish Government has not made any decision at this stage to implement such a policy – however, we are actively keeping it under review.

“What I would say to people now is this. Please think of the October break as an opportunity to further limit social interaction, particularly indoors.

“And, given that this is a global pandemic, please do not book travel overseas for the October break if it is not essential.

“Finally, I want to say a few words to people who were shielding earlier in the year. I know you will all be feeling particularly anxious.

“However the best way to keep you safe is by reducing the spread of the virus in our communities – which is what today’s measures are all about.

“The steps I have outlined today will help keep you safe, so please follow the guidance for the general population with great care.

“And if you haven’t signed up for our text alert service, please do so.

“Fundamentally, I want to assure you that your safety is uppermost in our minds.

“But we do not believe that asking you to return to shielding is the best way to secure it, given the impact it would have on your mental and physical health. In our view, all of us acting together collectively to reduce the spread of the virus is a better way to keep you safe.

“Presiding Officer,

“These are the changes we are making now. I can’t and will not rule out the need to make more – nationally or locally – in the weeks to come.

“Suppressing the virus and getting R below 1 again is essential and we will act in a way that can achieve that.

“Indeed, we intend to publish soon an overall strategic approach to escalation in areas with particularly high rates of  transmission.

“However, I am acutely aware that the restrictions I have announced today will not be welcome.

“But it is our judgment they are absolutely essential.

“Inevitably, some will think they go too far and others will think they don’t go far enough.

“But we have tried to get the balance as right as possible – and to act urgently and in a substantial and preventative way now to try to get the situation under control quickly.

“We judge that this will give us the best chance of avoiding tougher or longer lasting measures later.

“But I know that doesn’t make this any easier.

“Many people, me included, will find not being able to have family and friends in our own homes really difficult – especially as the weather gets colder.

“But today’s measures – although tough – are not a lockdown. They are carefully targeted at key sources of transmission. And we believe they can make a significant difference, while keeping our schools, public services and as many businesses as possible open.

“However the success of these measures depends on all of us.

“The decisions that we all make as individuals in the weeks ahead, will determine whether they work, and how quickly they can be lifted.

“That fact isn’t just a reminder of the responsibilities we all owe to each other – it is also a reminder that we are not powerless against this virus.

“None of us can guarantee that we won’t get it, or pass it on. But we can all make choices that significantly reduce our own risk, and help keep our communities safer.

“So please, make those choices. Stick with this.

“Please don’t meet people in their homes or your home – because that is where the virus often spreads.

“Limit how often you meet up with people in public places – and abide by the rules in force there.

“Work from home if you can.

“Follow the advice on self-isolation if you have symptoms, test positive, or are a contact of someone with the virus.

“Download the Protect Scotland app.

“And when you do meet other people, remember FACTS at all times.

“Face coverings

“Avoid crowded places.

“Clean your hands and surfaces.

“Keep a two metre distance from other households.

“And self-isolate and book a test if you have symptoms.

“Keeping to all these rules isn’t easy – but they remain the best way for all of us to protect ourselves, each other, the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“Presiding Officer,

“All of this is incredibly tough – and six months on, it only gets tougher.

“But we should never forget that humanity has come through even bigger challenges than this one – and it did so without the benefits of modern technology that allow us to stay connected while physically apart.

“And though it doesn’t feel like this now, this pandemic will pass.

“It won’t last forever and one day, hopefully soon, we will be looking back on it, not living through it.

“So though we are all struggling with this – and believe me, we are all struggling – let’s pull together.

“Let’s keep going, try to keep smiling, keep hoping and keep looking out for each other. Be strong, be kind and let’s continue to act out of love and solidarity.

“I will never be able to thank all of you enough for the sacrifices you have made so far. And I am sorry to have to ask for more.

“But if we stick with it – and if we stick together – I do know we will get through this.”

Ayr explosion: 35 homes remain sealed-off after blast destroys house

A family of four were seriously injured in the explosion in Gorse Park on Monday night.

Katielee Arrowsmith via SWNS

Around 35 homes remained cordoned off after an explosion ripped through an estate in South Ayrshire.

The blast, which happened in Ayr’s Gorse Park on Monday night, razed one home and caused severe damage to several others.

A 43-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy are currently being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

A 47-year-old man is receiving treatment at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, while an 11-year-old boy is being cared for at the Royal Hospital for Children.


On Wednesday, South Ayrshire council confirmed 46 properties were safe to return to, however 35 homes remained cordoned off due to damage. 

It is likely four homes within the cordon will be demolished. 

STV News
The incident took place on Monday evening.

Out with the cordon, four homes were significantly damaged and will require extensive repairs before householders can return. 

Many residents from the Kincaidston housing estate have spent two nights away from their homes following the blast. 


Leader of South Ayrshire Council, Councillor Peter Henderson said: “I know that council teams, the emergency services and partners have been working tirelessly to help as many people as possible to return to their homes.

“This is no easy task and I am relieved that their painstaking work has allowed some families to get back home today. Of course, it’s still very early days and the devastation caused by this tragic event will take considerable time to rectify.

“We are committed to working alongside our communities and partners to support them through the aftermath of this terrible event.”

A “complex” investigation into the cause of the explosion continues, with police adding gas is “one potential being looked at”. 

Engineers from gas distribution company SGN remain at the scene as they work with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blast.

Bradley Barlow, spokesperson for SGN, said: “We’re continuing to assist the emergency services in Gorse Park following an explosion on Monday evening.

“This is a complex incident and we’re supporting several organisations to establish the cause of the explosion.


“We’ll have an ongoing presence on site at this time, with our engineers continuing to monitor our gas network and the surrounding area.

“We’d like to reassure the Ayr community that the gas network remains safe and secure.

“Our thoughts remain with those injured and everyone in the community impacted by this incident.”

South Ayrshire Council said it had been overwhelmed by donations from the public and offers of help from local businesses.

A hub for residents affected by the incident has been set up at Kincaidston Community Pavilion.

If you have been affected by the explosion and require council support, call 0300 123 0900.

New training centre will make difference to NHS crisis, says Yousaf

The health secretary has warned that Scotland faces a ‘really difficult winter’ ahead.

Jane Barlow via PA Ready

A new NHS training centre could make an immediate impact to tackle the staffing crisis in the Scottish health service ahead of a “really, really difficult winter”, Humza Yousaf has said.

The health secretary acknowledged the NHS has “immediate workforce issues”, with the Army being drafted in to assist two struggling health boards and two further boards also calling for help.

Nursing and midwifery vacancies are at an all-time high and A&E waiting times have reached record levels, with 612 patients waiting longer than 12 hours to be seen in the most recent statistics.

But speaking at the official opening of the NHS Scotland Academy at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, Yousaf said he expects the centre to help in the short-term and as the health service recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


During a tour of the new training facility, Yousaf attempted a practice colonoscopy and watched surgical training of a knee replacement, meeting staff and trainee healthcare workers.

The Scottish Government is providing £9m of funding over three years for the centre, which is aimed at training graduates in high-demand sectors of the health service.

Among the courses now running is a programme to qualify nurses to work in theatres after six months, rather than a year, and training community pharmacists to issue prescriptions for specific conditions that would usually require patients to see a GP.

Speaking to the PA news agency after the official opening of the centre, Yousaf said: “It’s a collaboration between NHS National Education Scotland and the Golden Jubilee to deal with some of the immediate workforce issues that we’ve got, but also to bolster the workforce of the NHS for the future, which obviously is going to help with our recovery and remobilisation of the NHS.


“I saw how they’re training pharmacists in order to become independent prescribers, that’s going to help us right now, particularly with some of the challenges that we’re facing in our clinical care setting.

“They’re also treating – immediately, right now – people in endoscopy which we know we have a big backlog in.”

Yousaf insisted he has “always been upfront and honest with people” about the scale of the challenges facing the health service, when asked about the record A&E waiting times and the use of the Army.

“This is going to be the most difficult winter probably in the NHS’s entire 73-year existence, so what we’ll do is leave no stone unturned – whether that’s reaching out to the military for assistance, whether that’s the £300m of funding we announced,” he said.

“I’ve got to be open, honest and upfront with people that, even with that investment, it will still be a really, really difficult winter and that’s even before the flu season has really come and hit us.”

Yousaf also suggested that the deteriorating A&E performance, with 28.7% of patients waiting longer than four hours to be seen, is unacceptable.

He added: “I absolutely regret that anybody doesn’t receive the standard of service that we’d expect.


“That’s why we’re working to invest, that’s why we’re leaving no stone unturned to assist – whether that’s from the military or elsewhere.

“But I will do everything in my gift to try to get some improvement, but it will be an incredibly challenging winter ahead.”

Chief executive of NHS Golden Jubilee, Jann Gardner, said: “The pandemic has made it clearer than ever the need to offer fast, efficient and effective access to training and education for health and social care staff.

“Drawing on the strengths of the Golden Jubilee’s state of the art facilities, and the educational expertise and technology offered by NHS Education for Scotland, the NHS Scotland Academy will support the workforce, and benefit the people of Scotland for years to come.”

NHS Education for Scotland chief executive Karen Reid added: “Having the right staff with the right skills in the right place is fundamental to delivering the best health and social care outcomes.

“The pandemic has made us think about working in new ways and about making better use of technology.

“Our partnership in the new NHS Scotland Academy allows us to join up educational expertise and technology – enabling faster learning, and a more skilled workforce, for the people of Scotland.”

Police will ‘step in’ when COP26 protests disrupt city life

Around 10,000 officers will be deployed across Scotland during the crunch climate summit.

STV News

Police are prepared to “step in” if COP26 protests “majorly disrupt” life in Glasgow, a senior officer has said.

A massive security operation has been drawn up for the crunch climate summit, which will be attended by the likes of US President Joe Biden and the Queen.

Large protests are expected in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland during the conference, which has been billed by many as our “last best chance” to avoid climate catastrophe.

In recent weeks, campaigners have brought some major UK motorways to a standstill during rush hour, but Police Scotland deputy chief constable Will Kerr told STV current affairs show Scotland Tonight that officers were ready to deal with any problems.


He said: “Glasgow is a city that’s got a proud tradition of protest and welcoming protest, but there has to be a balance, and there has to be a bit of common sense applied to this.

“If the protest is non-disruptive and doesn’t largely affect the working life of the city, that’s fine, I think people will be largely happy with that. The minute it starts to majorly impact or disrupt the life of the city, we’ll step in.

STV News
Police Scotland deputy chief constable Will Kerr.

“We can give an assurance that if the crowd starts to cause damage to commercial or other premises, we have a significant amount of public order resource available to us and if we need to use it, we’ll use it.

“Our plea to everyone who is going to come to protest at this critically important event in Glasgow is ‘exercise your lawful rights, respectfully and peacefully’. If you do, there won’t be any issues with policing, but if you don’t, we’ll step in very quickly.”


Around 10,000 police officers will be deployed across Scotland during the two-week summit, which begins on November 1, and the public should expect to see more armed police than usual.

“We’re going to see a number of significant events happening within the city at one particular time,” said DCC Kerr. “There’s the conference itself, of course, there’s a number of ancillary events that are happening in the environs of the Scottish Events Campus, and there’s also a number of movements that people will see from the word leaders.

“There’s a state dinner on November 1 and 120-plus world leaders who are going to have to be moved about the country and be moved about that busy urban environment that is Glasgow.

“Some of the officers will be armed, not them all, certainly not the majority, but there will be some armed officers as you would expect. We want to make sure that it can take place safely and that politicians can hopefully deliver their job and actually create a safe and successful event.”

Warrant issued for arrest of man accused of murdering his mum

Sean Flynn was due to go on trial over the death of Louise Tiffney.

STV News
Louise Tiffney, 43, was last seen leaving her home in Edinburgh in May 2002.

An arrest warrant has been issued for a man accused of murdering his mother after he failed to turn up at court.

Sean Flynn was due to go on trial over the death of Louise Tiffney, who disappeared from her home on Dean Path in Edinburgh in May 2002.

The 38-year-old’s address was given as Berlin, Germany.

The Crown told the High Court in Livingston it did not believe Flynn would be attending court in the near future, having made inquiries.


Flynn has been charged with murdering Ms Tiffney and of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by concealing her body in the boot of a car, driving it into a wooded area and disposing of it there.

At a previous hearing in January, his lawyer said Flynn denies the charges.

Ms Tiffney’s body was found at stately home Gosford House in East Lothian in 2017 after the 43-year-old was last seen leaving her home in the capital.

Campaigners call for Scottish Government to criminalise paying for sex

Ministers are being urged to introduce legislation which makes paying for sex a criminal offence.

Motortion via IStock
Charities representing sex workers say they would oppose any move to criminalise the buying of sex.

A group of campaigners are calling on the Scottish Government to criminalise those who pay for sex in order to reduce demand for prostitution.

A group called A Model for Scotland is holding an online event on Wednesday to encourage ministers to introduce legislation which makes paying for sex a criminal offence.

Speaking at the event will be former detective superintendent of Suffolk Constabulary Alan Caton, who led the force’s response to the murders of five women in Ipswich in 2006.

He says outlawing the purchase of sex would help protect women from violence and exploitation.


In this year’s Programme for Government, ministers committed to “develop a model for Scotland which effectively tackles and challenges men’s demand for prostitution”.

However charities which represent sex workers have said they would oppose any move to criminalise the buying of sex.

Umbrella Lane, which represents sex workers across Scotland, says these laws would hurt consensual sex workers and do nothing for those being exploited.

Ahead of the meeting on Wednesday, Caton said: “There is currently a minority of men in Scotland who feel entitled to sexually exploit vulnerable women by paying them for sex.


“My experiences in Ipswich taught me that society must never turn a blind eye to the abuses these men are committing.

“Men who pay for sex cause immense harms to the women they exploit, while their demand also drives a brutal sex trafficking trade.”

He continued: “Prostitution is violence against women. Yet the law in Scotland currently gives men license to pay for sex.

“That cannot be right. It is crucial that the law sends out the unequivocal message that paying for sex is never acceptable, and that law enforcement agencies have the powers to hold perpetrators to account.

“At the same time, women exploited through prostitution must be decriminalised and given the support they need to leave sexual exploitation.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government’s definition of violence against women includes prostitution and this is set out in our Equally Safe strategy.

“This year’s Programme for Government commits the Scottish Government to developing a model for Scotland which effectively tackles this behaviour and we are now taking this work forward.


“We will base our model on fundamental principles which embed equality, human rights and women’s safety at its centre.

“As part of that work, we will learn from other jurisdictions and international approaches and engage with those with lived experience to help shape and strengthen services.”

Dr Anastacia Ryan, founding director of Umbrella Lane, said her organisation and others which represent sex workers oppose the criminalisation approach.

She said: “It is unfathomable that a group of men are calling for laws that have been shown to increase violence against women who engage in sex work.

“Particularly shocking is the weighing in of a male former detective superintendent amidst growing awareness and outrage at the levels of institutional misogyny in police forces.

“Police and former police officers should be there to carry out the law, not campaign for increased criminalisation of an industry steeped in outdated, harmful laws.

“These laws already put women at risk forcing sex workers to work alone indoors or risking arrest through working alone, in hidden and isolated areas on the street to avoid police repression and possible prosecution.”

Woman created ‘blether boxes’ to help children cope with grief

Gabrielle Williamson came up with the idea to help her little sister following the death of their dad in June 2020.

STV News

A young woman who lost her dad to cancer has created special ‘blether boxes’ to help children cope with grief.

Gabrielle Williamson, 20, came up with the idea to help her little sister following the death of their father, Kevin, in June 2020.

The student, from Ayr, told STV News: “It was incredibly difficult and even now, you know, we’re still grieving every single day.

“And I just know that whatever we do, our dad’s up there and he’s guiding us. And he’s giving us the strength to do these things.


“And these kind of things help us a lot as a family with our grief because it keeps us busy and it keeps us doing something good.”

STV News
Family: Gabrielle Williamson came up with the idea following the death of her dad.

The boxes – which contain toys, books and worksheets designed to help children understand their emotions – are now being delivered to schools in South Ayrshire as part of a pilot scheme.

Little sister Poppy, nine, helped to pick the items that are now in the box, including an octopus which helped her to tell her teacher how she was feeling in the virtual classroom.

The schoolgirl said: “It helped me express my emotions to the teacher because if I was upset or something in the Google Meet, I could just flip over my octopus and she would see.”

STV News
Pilot: The boxes are being delivered to schools in South Ayrshire.

Ms Williamson, who runs a blog called Let’s Blether to encourage people to talk about difficult subjects like grief and mental health, hopes the ‘blether boxes’ will be adopted across the country.

She said: “It’s not just needed in South Ayrshire, it’s needed everywhere.

“I’d love for it to be picked up across all councils, obviously.

“This is just the beginning and I think, hopefully, as it grows we’ll get more ideas, more things in the boxes.”

More on:

Police to assess scale of spiking at nightclubs amid injection claims

It comes as officers in Scotland investigate alleged incidents in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

Shironosov via IStock
Spiking: Concerns have been raised after incidents were reported in several areas of the country.

Police have been asked to urgently assess the scale of drink spiking at nightclubs and parties amid a rise in reports and claims some people have been drugged by injection.

Home secretary Priti Patel has asked forces for an update after some said they had seen more spiking incidents in recent months.

Police chiefs have also been tasked by the Commons Home Affairs Committee to urgently provide more information on their assessment of the scale of the problem after reports of incidents in several parts of the country, including Scotland, Nottingham and Northern Ireland.

Groups from more than 30 universities around the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking “tangible” changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.


A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 120,000 signatures.

The ‘Girls Night In’ campaign has asked for women to avoid the venues on Thursday, October 28, in protest at safety concerns not being taken seriously.

It has gathered support from across the UK, with campaign groups having been established in cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

It comes as a University of Nottingham student told how she believes she was spiked with an injection during a night-out with friends.


Zara Owen, 19, from Surrey, said she blacked out soon after arriving at a venue last Monday, telling BBC Breakfast: “I know I didn’t drink as much as I usually would on a night out this night, and the fact that I don’t remember anything is terrifying for me because this is something that is a very rare occasion to me.

“I’ve never suffered with memory loss and then the next morning I woke up with a really painful leg.

“I found a pin prick in my leg which was the epicentre of all pain. It made me unable to walk and I was limping around.

“As a young person who’s at university, I’m hearing stories of people who have been to nightclubs and they have been injected. I have heard stories of someone having it through their hand or through their back, so this kind of gave me an idea this had happened to me.”

Nottinghamshire Police said it has seen a rising number of reports of spiking over recent months and has arrested a man as part of a wider operation.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Over the last few months we have seen an increase in reports where people believe that drugs may have been put in their drink.

“But we’ve also received a small number of reports where people are telling us, as Zara has, that this has been associated with a pain or a mark on a part of their body, scratching sensation, and as though they have been physically spiked.”


The University of Nottingham said it was “extremely concerned” by the reports and was working with police and venues to “monitor, review and learn from incidents and experiences in the city centre”.

Police Scotland is also looking into similar reports.

A spokesman said: “Officers are carrying out inquiries and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated. These do not appear to be linked.”

They are also investigating a possible injection incident in Aberdeen.

A spokesperson said: “We are making enquiries into a drug spiking incident, reported to have occurred on Friday, October 15, at a premises in Aberdeen city centre. Our enquiries are at an early stage.”

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that in the past few days a number of students have reported instances of women being spiked on nights out.”

Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds described the reports of the “vile act” as “terrifying”, adding: “This awful crime needs to be clamped down on without delay.”

The chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association Michael Kill said the organisation was “very concerned” about the reports and called on the Home Office to do more to investigate the problem.

Although the industry is working to try to keep customers safe, Mr Kill warned: “The truth is, though, very real challenges still exist.

“We know this is a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is.”

Sarah Crew, temporary Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset Police who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) work on rape and adult sexual offences, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday: “In terms of the injection spiking, I only became aware of that this morning so I know about the reports.

“I think it’s a fair assumption there may be a sexual motive in those, but there isn’t an indication.”

It is “difficult to make an assessment on that particular trend at the moment, in terms of the more general drink spiking we do know that that’s a problem,” she added.

Metropolitan police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said she had not heard about the injection spiking incidents but told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that they sounded “very worrying”.

Reports of women having their drink spiked in London have increased in the past five years from 136 in the year to September 2017 to 473 in the year to September 2021, the committee heard.

The Met’s assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe said this had coincided with awareness campaigns which may have led to an increase in reporting.

Spiking drinks can lead to up to ten years in prison – or even higher if other offences like rape, robbery or another assault has taken place.

Thousands of rotting salmon ‘stink out’ village after mass death at farm

The Scottish Salmon Company farm off Gigha suffered a 'sudden and unforeseeable bloom of micro-jellyfish'.

Corin Smith via Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
Residents of Tayinloan said their village was 'stinking'.

Thousands of salmon have been killed in a mass mortality event at a fish farm off the west coast of Kintyre.

The Scottish Salmon Company farm off the shore of the Isle of Gigha has suffered a major loss of life after a “sudden and unforeseeable bloom of micro-jellyfish”.

Jellyfish can sting fish leading to gill and skin injuries and eventually killing them.

Residents of Tayinloan, which sits on the coast of the Kintyre peninsula in Argyll and Bute opposite Gigha, said their village was “stinking” with lorries “spilling rotten fish fluid as they come up the hill”.

Corin via Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
Fish removed from the pens at the Scottish Salmon Company farm off Gigha.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency is investigating, while the Scottish Government said the Fish Health Inspectorate had inspected the fish farm.

A spokesperson for the Animal and Plant Health Agency said it does not comment on ongoing investigations.

The Scottish Salmon Company operates two sites in the Sound of Gigha, East Tarbet Bay and Druimyeon Bay.

The latter has received five “unsatisfactory” classifications in seabed surveys by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

Corin Smith via Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
The pens of the Scottish Salmon Company farm off the Isle of Gigha.

Results for 2020 have yet to be evaluated.

East Tarbet Bay received “unsatisfactory” and a “borderline” reports in 2006 and 2007, but has had “satisfactory” classifications since then, apart from in the latest survey in 2019 which is still to be evaluated.

Images of dead salmon being removed from the farm nets were and then inside open-topped trailers were captured by Corin Smith, founder of Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots.

He said: “Hundreds of thousands of dead and rotting fish, many more suffering a long lingering death, and tonnes of rotting fish dispersed into the sea.

Corin Smith via Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
The pens of the Scottish Salmon Company farm off the Isle of Gigha.

“As usual the Scottish Government seems to be the last to know and powerless to do anything about this company’s appalling environmental and welfare record.”

The Scottish Salmon Company said the fish were disposed of in accordance with regulations.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government takes fish welfare and health very seriously.


“We recently refreshed the focus of our 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework to concentrate on areas that make a direct difference to farmed fish health and welfare including analysis of causes of mortality and the development of treatments, which will help us to better understand and prepare for these environmental events. “

Corin Smith via Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots
Dead fish from the Scottish Salmon Company farm off Gigha fill two trailers.

A spokesperson for The Scottish Salmon Company said the health and welfare of fish was fundamental to responsible salmon farming.

“However, as with any farmer, operating in the natural environment brings unique biological challenges such as the sudden and unforeseeable bloom of micro-jellyfish which occurred recently at our Gigha site,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this has caused fish mortalities which we are disposing of in line with regulations and reporting as standard practice in the industry.”

Brewdog’s ‘solid gold’ beer can competition ruled as misleading

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld 25 complaints from customers over the 'misleading' promotion.

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Brewdog: Ellon-based brewery launched a 'solid gold' beer can competition in 2020.

A Brewdog competition which claimed customers could win “solid gold” beer cans was misleading, a watchdog has said. 

The Ellon-based brewer launched the promotion in 2020, which initially stated customers could find one of ten gold cans hidden in packs of beer purchased from its online store. 

In social media posts published in February 2021, the company claimed there were five gold wrapped cans to be found, which could be swapped for a “solid gold, 24-carat” beer can.

However it was revealed the cans were actually gold plated and worth significantly less than a “solid gold” version, which would be worth $500,000 at the current gold price. 


Brewdog said the “solid gold” claim was an error due to a “miscommunication” between its marketing and social media teams.

The company stated the prize was worth £15,000 and stood by the evaluation, adding that it “could not see that any reasonable consumer who entered the competition would assume they were going to win over half a million dollars of gold”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld 25 complaints over the competition, ruling three adverts were misleading.

The watchdog said it “understood the prize consisted of 24 carat gold-plated replica cans” but added “because the ads stated that the prize included a ‘solid gold’ can when that was not the case, we concluded the ads were misleading.”


The ASA added: “We told BrewDog plc not to state or imply that consumers would receive a solid gold can when that was not the case.”

On Wednesday, Brewdog said the company had “messed up” over the promotion and added it would offer all the winners from the first round of the contest the cash equivalent of the gold cans. 

It has also now launched a new gold can competition where customers can win a “diamond encrusted gold plated can” or a £25,000 cash equivalent. 

The company added “clear T&C’s” would be provided to customers. 

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