Home U.K. Sturgeon fury: BBC attacked for letting SNP 'score political points' with COVID-19...

Sturgeon fury: BBC attacked for letting SNP ‘score political points’ with COVID-19 updates

During the pandemic, daily briefings have been staple TV viewing across the UK but Ms Sturgeon has been slammed for providing vital health updates. Scottish Tories and Labour members say she is scoring political points.

Due to the decreased number of cases throughout Scotland and ten days without any deaths, opposition parties are arguing the BBC should stop broadcasting them.

Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Jackie Baillie has written to BBC Scotland director Donalda MacKinnon complaining about airing the press conferences.

She wrote: “Given the drastic improvement in case figures, I feel that an hour a day, five days a week for government broadcasting is no longer appropriate.

“These briefings are no longer used to relay information but have become increasingly political.

Nicola Sturgeon criticised for political briefings (Image: Getty)

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Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie (Image: Getty)

“This would be a hugely inappropriate use of public money at any time, but with less than 10 months to go until a national election, I feel very strongly that these briefings cannot be allowed to continue in the current format.”

Ms Baillie also claimed the BBC rejected a request to reveal how much airtime the First Minister has been given.

She continued: “The BBC’s refusal to answer these extremely significant and important questions is highly disappointing.

“The BBC has a duty to ensure that it remains an impartial broadcaster and that important broadcasts such as the first minister’s coronavirus briefings do not degenerate into the party political sniping and grandstanding we have seen in recent weeks.

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Sturgeon criticised for political COVID briefings (Image: Daily Record)

“I urge the BBC to seriously reconsider its refusal to answer these very simple questions.

“If we cannot rely on the national broadcaster to be straightforward in its dealings, then serious questions around impartiality and professionalism will be raised.”

Scotland’s Tory leader Jackson Carlaw also echoed Labour’s complaint.

However, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf dubbed the Opposition parties petty-minded and pathetic.

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Should Scotland be an independent country? (Image: Express)

He said: “Imagine in any other country political opposition trying to stop the leader of the government giving daily public health information in the midst of a global pandemic.

“And also taking (often challenging) questions from the press.

“How absolutely pathetic and petty-minded are this lot?”

BBC Scotland said it was in the public interest for the press briefings to continue.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Image: Getty)

A spokesperson said: “We are broadcasting Scottish Government briefings on the pandemic and the easing of lockdown because these are matters of significant public interest.

“While cases of infection may be decreasing from their peak during the pandemic, there remains a valid editorial justification for reporting public health information and asking questions on new developments, such as the recent clusters in the borders and Lanarkshire.

“The briefings in Scotland are covered on BBC One — which has also been the case when the UK and Welsh governments have held briefings.

“Viewing figures indicate there is a continuing audience need and appetite for information on the crisis, with an average daily combined audience of 275,000 for the briefings on both BBC One Scotland and the BBC Scotland channel.”

Scotland has seemingly curbed the deadly pandemic and has not recorded any new deaths in ten consecutive days.

Reacting to the statistics, Ms Sturgeon said: “Very relieved to report yet another day in Scotland with no deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid.

“The 4 new positive cases (0.2 percent of people newly tested) will be looked at closely and followed up through Test & Protect. Please keep following all the #FACTS advice.”

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