‘High and dry’ Furious Sturgeon row explodes as Ian Blackford moans at Boris

Ian Blackford slammed by MSP for 'absurd' pension comments

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The legal requirement for people who test positive for coronavirus to self isolate will end in England tomorrow, and free universal testing is set to be scrapped in April. The SNP has now followed suit, signalling yesterday that Scotland’s system of mandatory vaccine passports for nightclubs and sports venues is to end next Monday, February 28.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs the Scottish government believed the lower health and social impacts of the Omicron variant justified lifting the country’s remaining Covid-19 regulations, phased over the next four weeks.

However, speaking yesterday morning, SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford accused the UK government of abandoning its responsibility to devolved nations, the NHS and clinically vulnerable people by ending universal free testing.

He described testing as a “critical element” of a successful Covid strategy to Sky News, adding: “We need to know where the virus is, how it’s spreading. We need to make sure that people can protect themselves.”

Mr Johnson suggested on Monday that once England has scrapped the free Covid tests, Holyrood will have to fund the tests on their own terms to continue them.

He said: “Of course, if people want to continue beyond then … then [the Scottish Government] has access to the £41 billion record settlement under Barnett and … to hundreds of millions from the health care levy which he voted against.”

However Mr Blackford said he was concerned by a lack of clarity over testing for NHS workers.

He said: “There’s no certainty as to whether or not healthcare workers will be able to get a test, how that will be funded.

“They will not know when they’re going into hospitals, whether or not they’re carrying the virus. They won’t know if they are a threat to their colleagues, if they’re a threat to the public.
“When the Prime Minister was asked about this yesterday he talked about the NHS funding this.

“So the responsibility of this has been passed on from the Government. Government needs to take its responsibility of keeping people safe.

“That means that the Government should be providing testing for those that need it when they need it.”

Ahead of Ms Sturgeon’s announcement for Scotland to also lose the majority of their Covid restrictions, Mr Blackford said that the PM’s announcement had sparked “real concern” among devolved leaders.

He said: “The point about this is that Boris Johnson and the UK Government has done this without consultation.

“He’s announced that he’s doing this and effectively he’s left the devolved nations high and dry.

“This wasn’t done on the basis of scientific advice. We know where the World Health Organisation stands on this, we know where the individual Sage members stand.

“This is a Prime Minister [who] has done this to save his own skin, it’s to appeal to his own backbenchers and has nothing to do with best practices or public health.”

Mr Johnson had made a clear attempt to dissuade fears that the government was ignoring scientific advice, saying on Monday that he didn’t want people to think “there’s some division between the gung ho politicians and the cautious, anxious scientists”.

DON’T MISS: Map shows areas in Britain to be decimated if Russia nukes London [REVEAL]
Flight from Islamabad to Manchester diverted due to emergency [INSIGHT]
GB News: Dan Wootton celebrates Emily Maitlis resignation [ANALYSIS]

He added: “We’re able to make these changes now because of the vaccines and the high level of immunity and all the other considerations about Omicron that you’ve seen.

“But we have to face the fact that there could be, likely will be, another variant that will cause us trouble.

“But I believe that thanks to a lot of the stuff that we’ve done, particularly investment in vaccines and vaccine technology and therapeutics, we’ll be in a far better position to tackle that new variant when it comes.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the announcement will leave the nation “vulnerable, and that it was “not a plan to live well” with Covid.

Charity for disabled people Scope said that the end of isolation laws would usher in a life “living in fear” for vulnerable people.

Source: Read Full Article