The Scottish First Minister was grilled by both ITV hosts Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid as she attempted to manage the disastrous backlash coming for the news her own Chief Medical OfficerDr Catherine Calderwood flaunted the Government’s advice to avoid non-essential travel. But it was when Nicola Sturgeon claimed she would have wanted for Dr Calderwood to remain in her position despite the critical mistake that Susanna Reid blasted the First Minister.
The ITV host asked: “You wanted to keep her on initially because you trusted her advice.
“But if her advice involves going to her second home, how can you trust her?”
The First Minister replied: “Her advice to me throughout this has been good, high-quality advice.”
But Ms Reid blasted again: “It’s not going to be good high-quality advice if she’s doing precisely the opposite of what we’re all supposed to be doing.
“Because I think a lot of people will be thinking is it okay to go to my second home?
“She’s the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland, not just the message but the actual fact.
“Is it ok to go to a second home?”
Ms Sturgeon promptly replied: “It’s not okay. And I said yesterday it’s not okay. And there isn’t one rule for her and another rule for somebody else.”
She added she was not seeking to defend the behaviour of Dr Calderwood who apologised on Sunday when she announced she would resign.
Dr Catherine Calderwood was originally backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to remain in the role, despite twice recently visiting her second home in Fife.
However, after further conversations with Ms Sturgeon, Dr Calderwood said on Sunday night she had resigned “with a heavy heart”.
In her statement, Dr Calderwood said: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and the mistakes I have made.
“The First Minister and I have had a further conversation this evening and we have agreed that the justifiable focus on my behaviour risks becoming a distraction from the hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic.
“Having worked so hard on the government’s response, that is the last thing I want.
“The most important thing to me now and over the next few very difficult months is that people across Scotland know what they need to do to reduce the spread of this virus and that means they must have complete trust in those who give them advice.”
Dr Calderwood initially apologised after photos of herself and her family near a coastal retreat in Earlsferry were published in The Scottish Sun on Saturday.
Just days earlier, the 51-year-old tweeted a photo of her family at their main residence in Edinburgh as they clapped for the frontline NHS staff working to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The 51-year-old, who was issued with a police warning over her conduct, told the briefing at the Scottish Government headquarters in Edinburgh on Sunday she had also visited the home in Fife last weekend with her husband.
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She will now work with her team “over the next few days to ensure a smooth transition” to her successor.
Ms Sturgeon said she did not know about Dr Calderwood’s visits to the home, a drive of more than an hour from Edinburgh, until Saturday night.
The First Minister again backed the doctor’s advice, saying: “Dr Calderwood’s advice to me, to the government and to people across Scotland over the past few weeks has been the right advice.
“People should continue to stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives.
“It is however clear that the mistake she made – even though she has apologised sincerely and honourably for it – risks distracting from and undermining confidence in the government’s public health message at this crucial time.
“That is not a risk either of us is willing to take.”
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