Nicola Sturgeon and Douglas Ross clash in election debate
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Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said the First Minister should thank Boris Johnson for ignoring SNP demands to sign up to the bloc’s vaccine programme. Ms Sturgeon, 50, is expected to receive her first COVID-19 jab on Thursday.
On the same day, the First Minister will also launch the SNP’s election manifesto.
The EU failed to reach its target of inoculating 80 percent of older people by the end of March.
However, the bloc has continued to lay blame on the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner with responsibility for vaccine supply and distribution, told Le Parisien: “If we had received the 100 percent of AstraZeneca’s vaccines that were contracted to us, the European Union would be at the same level today as Great Britain in terms of vaccines.
“So I can say that the turbulence we have experienced is solely due to AstraZeneca’s failure to deliver.”
So far, the UK has vaccinated well over half of Britons whereas the EU has only inoculated around a fifth of its population.
Last year, SNP ministers called on the UK Government to sign up to the EU’s vaccine procurement scheme.
The SNP’s Constitution Secretary Mike Russell said at the time: “This idiotic refusal is all about Brexit and nothing to do with the pandemic. It will cost lives.”
Instead, Mr Johnson put together the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce and poured millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into setting up vaccine production lines.
Mr Ross told the Telegraph: “I think the SNP comments from a number of ministers at Holyrood and senior SNP politicians at Westminster at the time, on the approach that the UK Government took, have been shown to be false, hollow, and completely wrong.
“If Nicola Sturgeon had her way, she would take an independent Scotland back into the European Union, and there would be well over a million and a half fewer doses of the vaccine available here in Scotland, and it would be some time yet before Nicola Sturgeon was due to get her vaccine, rather than just a matter of hours.”
According to the paper, an SNP spokesman said: “These remarks from Douglas Ross are utterly pathetic but entirely in keeping with his petulant, puerile tone.”
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The SNP and Scottish Tory party are gearing up for the Holyrood election on May 6.
Mr Sturgeon’s party has continued to push for Scottish independence.
During the second pre-election party leaders’ debate, both the Scottish Greens and SNP said the devolved nation should decide on what a post-pandemic Scotland will look like through an independence referendum.
But Scottish Tory party, Labour party and Liberal Democrat party leaders said the independence plot would undermine Covid recovery.
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