Humza Yousaf has defended taking a family holiday to the Harry Potter studios during Scotland’s surge in Covid cases.
The health secretary said he will not apologise for spending time with his family as they have seen very little of him over the last seven months.
Yousaf’s trip to the studios near London was reported in the Scottish Sun on Wednesday.
Scottish Conservative chief whip Stephen Kerr said the health secretary should have reconsidered his holiday.
Last Thursday saw a record high of 4234 daily coronavirus cases in Scotland, though numbers have started to decline since then.
Kerr told the newspaper: “Families across Scotland who are feeling the effects of the third wave of Covid will be appalled that the SNP’s Health Secretary thought it appropriate to take a trip down to London at this time.
“We are seeing thousands of cases a day in Scotland, with hundreds in hospital, and people still tragically losing their lives to the virus.
“People are continuing to make huge sacrifices to ensure we can return to normality and that will include missing out on holidays.
“Humza Yousaf should have reconsidered this trip at such a critical time in our fight against Covid and ensured that he was fully focused on the day job, rather than diverting his attention towards all things Harry Potter related.”
Yousaf posted a series of tweets on Wednesday morning.
He said: “Don’t usually comment on stories about me, but I’ll make an exception.
“Most important job I have is being a good father, step-father & husband to my wife and kids.
“In the last seven months they’ve had virtually no time from me.
“Pandemic has been tough for everyone and I am luckier than most but it has been tough for my 12yr old step-daughter who missed her friends during her P7 year.
“As a treat, I promised this Harry Potter fan a trip to HP Studios months ago (if restrictions allowed) when school finished.
“Every day I have taken ‘off’ I have worked. Speaking to clinicians, vaccines and testing teams, clearing submissions etc.
“My family don’t see me much at all, and while they understand why, it is difficult for us all, so I won’t apologise for giving them the v limited time I do.”
Yousaf also claimed he had “bumped into” Scottish Conservative public health spokesman Sandesh Gulhane while at the Warner Bros studio near London.