Carol McGiffin And Nicola Sturgeon In Loose Women Clash Over Scottish First Minister's Mask Breach

The politician joined a discussion about Boris Johnson’s apology over his role in the partygate scandal.

Loose Women panellist Carol McGiffin clashed with Nicola Sturgeon over her breach of masking rules when Scotland’s first minister appeared on the ITV show on Wednesday.

The politician was spoken to by police after footage showed her with no face mask on while campaigning over the weekend – days before Scotland’s Covid laws were dropped.

As Sturgeon joined the panel of the lunchtime chat show, she discussed Boris Johnson’s apology in the House Of Commons for his role in partygate while addressing her own breach of Covid rules.

Nicola Sturgeon and Carol McGiffin
Nicola Sturgeon and Carol McGiffin

Sturgeon – who had previously called for the prime minister to resign over the partygate scandal – said: “As you know I have had my own lapse in the last couple of days with a momentary failure to put on a face covering so I know how difficult these things can be.

“I take the view that given the severity of the challenges and the cost of living crisis, it makes it even more important that there is a prime minister in Number 10 who has the moral authority to lead.

“With Boris, it is the serial breaches, at a time when the rest of the country was in very strict lockdown, but to be blunt about it, when this all first came to light, he was not honest about it and he was not honest in the House of Commons. In politics that really matters and it’s really important that people can trust the Prime Minister of the country, or the first minister of Scotland, to tell the truth.”

She added: “Sometimes, particularly for politicians, saying sorry is important, but in some instances and in some circumstances, particularly around the misleading of parliament, there’s got to be consequences for your actions.”

However, Carol appeared displeased with Sturgeon’s remarks, asking: “What’s the difference between your misdemeanour or breaking your rules, your laws, than Boris breaking his rules and his laws - and he has actually stood up in parliament and made a big apology. You’ve made an apology sort of, and you’re claiming it as a mistake. Maybe he made a mistake?”

The first minister responded: “That’s a fair question, Carol to say what’s the difference. People will make up their own minds about the difference. So I was on the street, I got called into a barber shop, I was talking to people and for literally a few seconds I forgot to put a mask on. It was in my pocket and then I immediately did that.

“I think that’s is something that probably many people, if not most people, have done over the past couple of years. Let me clear, I think it is right that I get a harder time for it than an average person because of my position and the fact that I set the rules. But is that the same as having, I think, six parties at the strict part of lockdown, presiding over what appears to be a culture of rule breaking in Downing Street, and then not telling the truth to parliament?

“People can make up their own judgement about that but I don’t think these things are equivalent,” she added.

Sturgeon made an appearance in the Loose Women studio
Sturgeon made an appearance in the Loose Women studio
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

A video posted on social media showed the first minister without a face covering during a visit to Iconic Gents Hair barber shop in East Kilbride on Saturday.

Police Scotland subsequently reminded her of the “importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so”. However, the force confirmed no further action against Sturgeon was necessary.

Carol also asked if Sturgeon expected the people of Scotland to follow any other rules that may need to be introduced in the future “now that you’ve broke your own rule”.

The politician explained she believed people obeyed the rules in the interest of protecting their loved ones, not because they had been told to by politicians, insisting “many, many, many more people would have died, many more people would have become seriously ill” if they had not.

The pair also clashed on the topic of Scottish Independence during the interview.

After Sturgeon was asked what she’d learned about herself during Covid, and offered that she found out she is “not a quitter”, Carol said: “You won’t give up. Because even if you do get your next referendum on independence...”

Sturgeon then quickly corrected her, saying: “When,” before Carol asked if she would step aside if another independence referendum was lost.

“I think when Scotland next votes on independence it will vote Yes,” she said, later adding that in the event the country did not, she “suspects I would make way for somebody else”.

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.


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