UK

Scottish Secretary warns nation would still be in Covid’s grip if it followed SNP’s advice 

Scottish Secretary warns nation would still be stuck in Covid’s ‘vice-like grip’ if it had followed SNP’s vaccine rollout advice

  • Scottish Secretary Alister Jack hailed UK Government’s vaccination programme
  • It has seen more than 1.8million people receive a jab north of the Border
  • Mr Jack hit out at the SNP insisting the party must ditch their ‘chilling’ obsession with independence and instead focus on rebuilding the country

Scotland would still be stuck in the ‘vice-like grip’ of Covid if it had followed SNP advice on vaccine rollout, according to Alister Jack

Scotland would still be stuck in the ‘vice-like grip’ of Covid if it had followed SNP advice on vaccine rollout, according to Alister Jack.

The Scottish Secretary yesterday hailed the UK Government‘s vaccination programme – which has seen more than 1.8million people receive a jab north of the Border.

He described the rollout as the ‘envy of the world’, with officials believing all adults should have received their first dose of the vaccine by the end of July.

And Mr Jack hit out at the SNP insisting that Nicola Sturgeon and her party must ditch their ‘chilling’ obsession with independence and instead focus on rebuilding the country following the pandemic.

The Dumfries and Galloway MP was speaking on the second day of the virtual Scottish Conservative Party conference, only two weeks before the Holyrood election short campaign kicks off.

He used the platform to hail the Westminster Government’s vaccine rollout programme, which ministers believe will reach within days the major milestone of vaccinating 25million people.

Mr Jack said: ‘Had we followed the SNP’s advice on vaccines and waited for the flat-footed EU, we would still be in the vice-like grip of the pandemic instead of confidently looking forward to better days.

‘There can be no more eloquent expression of the success of the Union than this brilliant UK-wide approach.’

Mr Jack added that the vaccination programme had been a ‘truly astonishing achievement’ and on a ‘scale that dwarfs anything since the war’.

He also used his speech to launch an attack Miss Sturgeon’s party.

Mr Jack hit out at the SNP insisting that Nicola Sturgeon and her party must ditch their 'chilling' obsession with independence and instead focus on rebuilding the country following the pandemic

Mr Jack hit out at the SNP insisting that Nicola Sturgeon and her party must ditch their ‘chilling’ obsession with independence and instead focus on rebuilding the country following the pandemic

Dubbing SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford a ‘champagne separatist’, he hit out at his comments there could be a second Scottish independence referendum towards the end of this year.

Mr Jack said: ‘It is chilling that with the monumental task of recuperating from a pandemic still ahead, supposedly serious politicians can spend even a moment contemplating the reckless folly of another referendum.’

Mr Jack also defended a controversial scheme which will see Westminster spend cash directly in devolved policy areas in Scotland. He said this would ensure the funding is ‘not left to moulder in the coffers of Bute House’.

The Scottish Secretary hailed the £4.8billion Levelling Up scheme as ‘true devolution’.

He said it allowed politicians in London to put ‘the power and the money local communities crave directly into their hands’.

The SNP has accused the Conservatives at Westminster of a ‘naked power grab’, saying the administration there is trying to ‘bypass the devolved governments and dictate spending over devolved areas’.

The Scottish Secretary said much of the work being done by the UK Government was possible only due to Brexit.

He said ‘not everything has been smooth’ but ‘an undertaking on this scale was always going to have snags’.

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