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- 5th First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party
Dr Sandesh Gulhane, the Tories’ health spokesman and a GP, said Ms Sturgeon had described him as being against restrictions while she responded to a question he had asked.
He said he supports proportionate restrictions, and his Conservative colleagues said the First Minister should apologise.
Ms Sturgeon said she did not intend to misrepresent anyone, saying Dr Gulhane’s question had led to the impression he was against the current measures.
The First Minister ignored my question & has made up what she thinks my position is on restrictions.
I asked about publishing all data she bases her decisions upon
To be clear I do support restrictions when they are proportionate
The FM should not make things up and misrepresent
— Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP (@Sandeshgulhane) January 5, 2022
During their initial exchange at the virtual meeting of the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, Dr Gulhane asked Ms Sturgeon about the data behind the Government’s decisions.
He said: “We all appreciate that Covid necessitates some restrictions. But what information does the Scottish Government base its decisions upon?
“We simply don’t know.”
Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government published “acres” of data and evidence, adding: “The data and evidence doesn’t make the decisions, they inform the decisions.
“I would hazard a guess that the member, who I know is a clinician himself, is in a minority of clinicians right now who don’t think – or who think no protective measures are required.
“Indeed, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and many countries across Europe and the world are all in a similar place, in some proportionate, but necessary protections, to try to stem even to some extent the rise in cases.”
Dr Gulhane later raised a point of order with the Presiding Officer, saying the First Minister had “completely misrepresented” his position and he had never been against all restrictions.
Other Conservative MSPs also raised the issue later in the virtual meeting of Holyrood, with Sue Webber asking if the First Minister would apologise.
Ms Sturgeon said: “No, I don’t think I’ve got any need to do that.
“I didn’t intend to misrepresent anybody, I don’t intend to misrepresent anybody.”
The First Minister said she understood from Dr Gulhane’s question that he did not agree with the protective measures, adding: “If that’s not what he intended to say then I accept that and his position is as he’s put on the record.”
When the issue was raised again later, she said: “My impression from that question was that he was not in support of the measures that were in place.
“Now that’s legitimate and I answered the question on that basis.
“If that was not the impression he was intending to give I accept that and I would hope he would accept in turn that I was not seeking to misrepresent him.
“I think we’ve all got more important things frankly to deal with right now because of the really significant challenge the country is facing.”