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BBC under pressuree

Call to end briefings ‘used for political point-scoring’

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has made political points during the health updates

Pressure is mounting on the BBC to bring a halt to the First Minister’s daily briefings amid accusations that they are becoming increasingly political.

Nicola Sturgeon has updated the public almost every week-day on the government’s response to the coronavirus.

But there has been criticism that they amount to free ‘party political broadcasts’, increasingly partisan in their content.

The Scottish Conservatives say the First Minister has used the briefings to make political criticism and promote SNP policy.

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The evidence includes referring to the UK Government approach on airbridges as “shambolic”, criticising Boris Johnson for remarks on the Scotland-England border, and raising questions about immigration policy.

She also criticised the UK Government’s rebranded “stay alert” guidance.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “It was quite right for the First Minister to embark on these daily briefings at the outset of this crisis, and for them to continue in the months that followed.

“But increasingly, as the statistics have improved and there’s inevitably less to say about them, the First Minister has turned to political point-scoring.

“This analysis shows how what starts with a daily data update soon descends into an SNP party political broadcast.

“She shouldn’t be doing that, and the BBC shouldn’t be indulging it.

“Either Nicola Sturgeon reverts to this being purely a factual event, or the corporation takes a stand and refuses to give her the airtime.”

Call to stop selling SNP face masks

Annie Wells, Scottish Conservative deputy leader has written to Peter Murrell, the SNP chief executive, and asked that the SNP stops selling branded facemasks on its website.

Ms Wells says that “to profit from such an event is a tasteless venture” and asked that any profits already made should be donated to charity.

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