Sturgeon says mask ‘error’ not the same as ‘culture of lawbreaking’ at Number 10

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Nicola Sturgeon insisted there is a ‘very, very clear difference’ between her ‘error’ with a face mask and lockdown breaches in Downing Street. (Peter Summers/PA)
Nicola Sturgeon insisted there is a ‘very, very clear difference’ between her ‘error’ with a face mask and lockdown breaches in Downing Street. (Peter Summers/PA)

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted there is a “very, very clear difference” between her face mask “error” and the apparent “serial culture of lawbreaking” at Downing Street lockdown parties.

The Scottish First Minister has already apologised after she was filmed not wearing a face covering while campaigning in a barbers shop in East Kilbride.

Footage shared on social media showed the SNP leader without her mask on after she went inside Iconic Gents Hair on Saturday.

I don't think it is equivalent to what Boris Johnson is accused of, the what appears to be serial culture of law breaking in Number 10, but then the misleading of Parliament.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

The incident took place before laws requiring face masks to be worn in indoor public places were lifted in Scotland on Monday, and the First Minister was spoken to by Police Scotland.

Officers reminded her of the “importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so”.

The First Minister accepted she had “lapsed”, but said what she did was not “equivalent to what Boris Johnson is accused of”.

Ms Sturgeon told STV: “I have recognised I made an error in not having a mask on for literally a few seconds.

“I was campaigning in the street, my mask was in my pocket, I got shouted into a barbers, I was talking to people, and for a few seconds I forgot to put my mask back on.

“I do think it is important for me to recognise that was wrong, and I shouldn’t, even for those few seconds, have lapsed in that.

“People will make up their own minds about that. My view, and what I would say to people, is that I don’t think it is equivalent to what Boris Johnson is accused of, the what appears to be serial culture of law breaking in Number 10, but then the misleading of Parliament.

“I do think there is a very, very clear difference there and I think it is reasonable for me to point that out.”

In the Commons on Tuesday, the Prime Minister – who has already paid a fixed penalty notice for a breach of lockdown rules – repeatedly apologised to MPs.

But he also insisted he had not believed a gathering in the Cabinet Room at No 10 to mark his 56th birthday had violated the regulations in place at the time.

It's really important that people can trust the Prime Minister to tell the truth. There's got to be consequences for your actions

Nicola Sturgeon

The First Minister addressed the issue on talk show Loose Women, where she said the difference between the rule breaks was that Mr Johnson was not “honest”.

In a heated debate with panellist Carol McGiffin, Ms Sturgeon said: “With Boris it’s the serial breaches at a time when the rest of the country was in very, very strict lockdown.

“But it’s also, to be blunt about it, when this first came to light he wasn’t honest about it and he wasn’t honest in the House of Commons.

“It’s really important that people can trust the Prime Minister to tell the truth. There’s got to be consequences for your actions.”

Ms Sturgeon said it was right that she received a “harder time” than the average person, but added: “Is that the same as having, I think, six parties at the strictest part of lockdown and then not telling the truth to Parliament?”

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