Labour demands apology from the First Minister ‘for the cover-ups and the catastrophic errors made’
By Lucy Ashton
Holyrood must launch its own detailed inquiry into Scottish Government Covid-19 failings, Scottish Labour has demanded.
Highlighting that many of the damning errors revealed in the UK Parliament’s joint committee report into the pandemic were repeated in Scotland, the party has demanded decisions taken by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her ministers are subject to the same scrutiny.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie and LibDem leader Alex Cole Hamilton.
Scottish Labour Health and Covid Recover spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon ignored the same warnings as UK Ministers and with the same tragic outcome.
“At crucial points in the pandemic the UK and Scottish Governments were in lockstep – acting too slowly in response to the danger and failing to warn the public of the risk.
“But while England will benefit from the findings of this robust and detailed report, Scotland has been denied early findings of its own.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s own MPs helped deliver this analysis at Westminster while in Scotland they dither and delay on making sure her decisions are put under the microscope.
“Scotland deserves better.”
Ian Murray, Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary and MP for Edinburgh South, said: “This is a devastating report on the catastrophic failings of the UK Government, which cost thousands of lives.
“Lessons must be learned both in England and here in Scotland, where the SNP made identical fatal errors.
“In fact, Nicola Sturgeon chose to overrule her own health advisers to cover-up an outbreak in Edinburgh – which is simply unforgivable – and her government failed to act on warnings in readiness exercises, and even allowed older patients who had tested positive for Covid into care homes.
“Westminster’s committee system is robust in holding the UK Government to account, and there now needs to be a similar forensic approach taken in Scotland, including a rapid public inquiry.
“The people of Scotland deserve an apology from the First Minister for the cover-ups and the catastrophic errors made.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The joint Westminster committee report identifies failing after failing at a time when both the UK and Scottish Governments were working in tandem.
“People whose parents died in care homes, those struggling with long Covid and those whose businesses went under need answers about the decisions that were taken which turned their lives upside down.
“However, let’s not pretend that meaningful scrutiny of the biggest decisions taken by SNP ministers will come from passive SNP backbenchers and green MSPs bound by a ‘no surprises’ contract.
“What we need is a proper independent inquiry led by a judge with legal powers to get to the bottom of this. This should be set up by Christmas and given a strict timeline for making an initial report of its findings.”