UK Government boycott of TV show ‘pretty disgraceful’, says Nicola Sturgeon

The Scottish First Minister, appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, said leaders have a ‘duty’ to communicate with people during the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon
Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has said it is “pretty disgraceful” for UK Government ministers to refuse to appear on a breakfast TV show during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish First Minister said leaders must be held accountable during the ongoing crisis.

She told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “Right now, communicating directly with the public is a real public duty on the part of leaders.”

GMB host Piers Morgan had told her: “As a rule of thumb, you come on pretty much whenever we ask you to be accountable for your decision making. We have not had a member of the UK Government on here for 148 days.”

He asked if that is a “dereliction of their duty to the electorate”.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I think that is pretty disgraceful actually. I think particularly at a time like this. We can’t be on all the programmes all the time. There is a limited number of hours in the day.

“But generally speaking, particularly at a time like this, leaders have to be accountable. And not just accountable, we have to be explaining the decisions we are taking.

“We are asking people to do extraordinary things and if we are not prepared to explain the reasons for that, we can’t expect people to comply.”

Morgan then said: “I do like a straight answer to a straight question.

“Actually I like asking leaders questions, it is a nice change from the British Government.

“As Nicola Sturgeon just said, it is a disgrace that they do not come on this programme and do not inform you the viewers what is going on in this crisis. An absolute disgrace.

“You pay their salaries, they have a fundamental duty to inform you in a public health crisis what is going on and through petty pique, because they couldn’t deal with tough questioning, they have not been on for 148 days.”

Ms Sturgeon also said she would be happy to have “more regular dialogue” with the Prime Minister.

She spoke to Boris Johnson on Monday, ahead of new Covid-19 restrictions being brought in for Scotland and elsewhere in Britain.

But she told GMB she does not speak to the Prime Minister “perhaps as often as we should”, adding it is Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove who tends to speak to leaders in the devolved administrations.

Ms Sturgeon said Monday’s conversation with Mr Johnson was “the first time in quite some time I had spoken to him about Covid”.

She added: “It takes two to talk, I am perfectly happy to have more regular dialogue.

“The dialogue that takes place is useful and this week, even though we have come to different decisions I think it has been better this week that there has been more communication and engagement.”

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