Politics

BBC Question Time host in stinging slapdown on SNP over Scotland Covid death rate

Question Time: SNP MP says Scotland is ‘lowest rate of UK’

The BBC presenter was also joined by Conservative MP Vicky Ford, Labour’s Jon Ashworth on Thursday evening’s Question Time Panel but it was the Scottish National Party MP that caught the sharpest slapdown from the chair. Dr Whitford said that Scottish virus numbers are the lowest in the UK, as she defended the SNP’s handling of the pandemic. Her comments sparked a quick rebuke from BBC host Ms Bruce who fired back arguing, “you have more dead than the first wave!”  

Dr Whitford told the Question Time audience if they looked at the numbers they would find Scotland “have less than half the incidence of Covid in Scotland than you have south of the border.”

“But you have had more deaths than the first worth, for example, Phillipa,” interrupted the host.

The SNP MP replied: “As does everyone, I mean now our numbers are much higher than the first wave as has been the experience right across the UK.

“But of the four nations are case numbers are the lowest.”

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She added: “But with this new variant it just is so difficult to drive the cases down. So while thankfully lockdown is working, the cases are dropping in all four nations.

What you are seeing is it’s very hard to drive down. So what I think people thought were reasonable ways to behave in the early autumn and the summer and the little kind of pushing the edges that they got away with I just think we won’t get away with this new variant.

“So people do need to follow the rules otherwise patients will wait longer to be seen in the NHS if we end up that intensive care units simply take over the operating theatres and other wards.

“So it is important but if you look at the actual data in Scotland you will see our data is the lowerest of the four nations.”

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The clash comes after Scotland’s Deputy First Minister warned that the nation could face even tougher restrictions than Nicola Sturgeon outlined in her latest national address if current restrictions are ignored.

John Swinney told BBC Breakfast that the SNP Government does have further restrictions ready to be implemented if the latest coronavirus rules do not reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

This follows Nicola Sturgeon announcing six new restrictions during First Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

Mr Swinney said: “There are further restrictions that could be applied but we do not want to have to go there.

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“So I would encourage people to follow the restrictions that are in place as well the very strong guidance.

“There are routine and habitual things that we should be doing to try to stop the spread of the virus.

“If we all do those things then we can avoid more stringent restrictions.”

The UK has recorded a further 48,682 cases and 1,248 deaths within 28 days of a positive test yesterday.

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