26 September 2023

SCOTLAND: Minister slams PS critics

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Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon says she is sick of “invidious” attacks on Public Servants following criticism of Clinical Director, Jason Leitch (pictured).

Ms Sturgeon said MPs should criticise elected politicians, who “can answer back”, rather than Public Servants.

She was responding to comments from Labour peer, Lord Foulkes, who tweeted that he was a “wee bit fed up” of Professor Leitch’s “lecturing us at every advertising break”.

Professor Leitch has fronted public service announcements about Coronavirus measures, similar to those recorded by England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty south of the border.

Scotland has different measures in place to England.

Backing Professor Leitch, Ms Sturgeon said there was “something really invidious about a politician in particular attacking a clinical director or official who is there to offer advice”.

“If anyone has criticisms to make they should make them of the elected politicians because we firstly are accountable and are in a better position if we find those criticisms unfair or not well founded because we can answer back,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Responding to Lord Foulkes’s comments, Professor Leitch said it was appropriate for him to share the Scottish Government’s advice on COVID-19, given it had diverged from that being followed in England.

“I’m simply trying my best to keep the population as safe as I can and give the best advice I can,” Professor Leitch said.

The FDA union’s National Officer for Scotland, Allan Sampson welcomed Ms Sturgeon’s comments.

“It is wholly unfair for Public Servants to face these kinds of attacks. Politicians across the United Kingdom should be standing up for the dedicated Public Servants doing incredible work in response to COVID-19,” Mr Sampson said.

Edinburgh, 22 May 2020

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