Ministers should ask if they have ‘moral authority’ to lead – Sturgeon

The First Minister said Boris Johnson had not taken responsibility for ‘serial and repeated’ breaches.

Neil Pooran
Wednesday 09 February 2022 18:13 GMT
(Jane Barlow/PA)
(Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


UK Government ministers should ask themselves if they have the “moral authority” to lead during the remaining stages of the pandemic, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said Boris Johnson had not taken responsibility for “serial and repeated” breaches of Covid rules.

Speaking to broadcasters on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon was asked about Gillian Keegan, the UK health minister who continued a face-to-face meeting despite being told she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Gillian Keegan (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA)
Gillian Keegan (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/PA) (PA Media)

Ms Keegan apologised and said that on reflection she should have ended the meeting immediately.

The First Minister said: “I don’t know the full circumstances of what happened with her.

“I read a very brief account of this on social media so I will insert that caveat.

“I know she has fully apologised already and that seems to be already a step beyond what the Prime Minister is prepared to do for the breaches that he stands accused of making.

Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)
Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

“I think the difficulty with Boris Johnson is that how can he allow a minister to resign over Covid breaches when he is sitting there refusing to take any responsibility for the serial and repeated breaches that everybody believes he has made of Covid regulations.

“In terms of previous examples in the Scottish Government, I think there is a stark difference right now between the former chief medical officer and UK politicians. The difference between taking responsibility and not taking responsibility.

“So I would hope the UK Government will look long and hard to all of these instances right now and ask themselves the question, whether they have any longer the moral authority to lead the country through the remaining stages of a pandemic.”

In April 2020, Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood resigned after making trips to her second home during lockdown.

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