UK politicians were 'afraid of Nicola Sturgeon' during Covid pandemic

Mark Drakeford said the UK Government was 'always anxious' about interactions with the First Minister of Scotland.

UK politicians were “afraid of Nicola Sturgeon” during the Covid pandemic, the First Minister of Wales has said.

Mark Drakeford described Scotland’s former first minister as a “formidable politician” during an appearance at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry.

The Labour politician said the UK Government was always “anxious” about meeting Sturgeon because of her “ambition for the future of Scotland”.

Mark Drakeford said he held Nicola Sturgeon in the 'highest regard'.Getty Images

Drakeford said: “I have the highest regard for the First Minister of Scotland and First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland, they were never anything but collegiate people, they took phone calls, they were involved in discussions.

“The UK Government was always anxious about their interactions with the FM of Scotland because she had a different underlying ambition for the future of Scotland and that coloured their attitude towards her.

“She’s also a formidable politician.

“Many UK ministers were afraid of her and would not like to be involved in a confrontational dialogue with her.”

He added that this was not true of the Prime Minister but Johnson did not want to give the impression that he was “on par” with first ministers of other nations.

Sturgeon served as Scotland’s First Minister from 2014 until her resignation in February last year.

She was known throughout the pandemic for daily press briefings on the virus.

Throughout her tenure, she repeatedly sparred with UK leaders, including Johnson during the pandemic.

The UK Covid Inquiry previously revealed that Sturgeon had referred to the former Tory PM as a “a f****** clown” during the pandemic.

Sturgeon said Johnson’s announcement to the public on October 31, 2020 to announce another national lockdown was “f****** excruciating” and said UK communications were “awful”.

During her own testimony to the inquiry in January, she denied making Covid decisions for political reasons, including furthering independence.

She faced scrutiny – like Johnson as PM – for deleting WhatsApp messages during her time as leader.

She denied accusations of secrecy within her government, saying the “salient” points of the messages were recorded.

“People will make their own judgments about me,” a teary-eyed Sturgeon told the inquiry, “about my government, about my decisions, but for as long as I live, I will carry the impact of these decisions, I will carry regret at the decisions and judgments I got wrong, but I will always know in my heart, and in my soul, that my instincts and my motivation was nothing other than trying to do the best in the face of this pandemic.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code