‘Absolute rubbish!’ Leadsom slams SNP MP in heated clash over Scotland’s Covid response

Andrea Leadsom accuses SNP of ‘absolute rubbish’

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Andrea Leadsom hit out at SNP MP Alyn Smith for his criticisms of the UK’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and backed up the new lockdown roadmap which was revealed by Boris Johnson on Monday. Andrea Leadsom admitted the virus mutates and is hard to control but the UK government’s handling of it – including the successful vaccination programme – was something to be proud of. Alyn Smith believes the Government is being too optimistic in its lockdown easing and will send off the wrong hopeful message to citizens when the end appears to be close. 

Speaking on BBC Politics Live, Ms Leadsom said: “What the Prime Minister is trying to do is to set out a roadmap with very good logic behind it.

“Four weeks for the data to emerge and then one week’s notice and, with the clear proviso that if the data doesn’t support it, then the lifting of restrictions won’t happen. 

“But I do just want to take issue with what Alyn says, he’s kind of making out like somehow the separatists in Scotland have always been setting out the modest cautious approach and the UK government hasn’t.

“That’s absolute rubbish, right around the world this virus has ebbed, it’s mutated, it’s come back again with a vengeance and every nation has been forced into lifting restrictions and then reimposing them.

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“And I do not like the intention of the separatists to try and do down the UK’s excellent efforts to support every man woman and child in the United Kingdom by simply suggesting that we got it wrong. 

“I mean everybody got it wrong and it is completely unfair to suggest that somehow we’ve been overly optimistic in the past, what we’ve been trying to do is to follow the data and protect as many people across the United Kingdom as we can.”

Mr Smith replied: “It’s a matter of public Records the UK Government and the Prime Minister in particular have been grievously over-optimistic in the past, events have demonstrated that.

“We’re midway through this and another thing you said that I’m trying to score points, I’m really not, I’m trying to push back on the UK Government being I think overly ambitious in what they’re saying to try and give people a false sense of hope. 

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“We need to dial this down, we need to keep people safe and we need to let people know we’re not out of this crisis. 

“We all want to be, we’re all suffering under these restrictions, but the first duty of the Scottish government is to keep people safe, safe from all harms.”

Boris Johnson revealed his roadmap out of lockdown this week and set June 21 as the date where there would be no legal requirements to follow restrictions.

However, the PM said that the UK would be reopening in stages with a five-week interval to access whether more or less restrictions can be put in place. 

The UK is set to reopen retail and other venues on April 12 but Nicola Sturgeon will reopen Scotland’s shops on April 26. 

Schools in Scotland will not fully reopen until April 5 whereas schools in England will open on March 8.

Some schools in Scotland and Wales have already reopened and Scotland has indicated it may reopen other schools and venues quicker if the data suggests it would be ok.

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