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VIDEO: Nicola Sturgeon says she needs Dr Catherine Calderwood to stay on — as it emerges CMO paid TWO visits to Fife holiday home

Nicola Sturgeon has said she needs the chief medical officer to continue to do her job in supporting Scotland’s response to the coronavirus crisis — despite Dr Catherine Calderwood admitting she visited her Fife holiday home on two consecutive weekends.

The First Minister was speaking at a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing and after Dr Catherine Calderwood issued an “unreserved apology” after she was photographed visiting her holiday home in Fife despite being the public face of a nationwide campaign urging Scots to stay at home and only venture out for essential reasons.

In an extraordinary press conference, Dr Calderwood watched on as the First Minister dealt with a barrage of questions from journalists asking how the chief medical officer could maintain public credibility after ignoring her own apparently life-saving advice on more than one occasion.

Ms Sturgeon’s full statement on Dr Calderwood

Ms Sturgeon said: “The chief medical officer made a mistake in travelling away from her home. Whatever her reasons for doing so, she was wrong and she knows that.

“It was not in line with the advice we are asking everyone to follow. She has apologised unreservedly to me and to the public and she’s right to have done so.

“As I said, she will address the matter herself in a moment. But I would like to say this: I’ve said this from this podium before that all of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we are living in. When we do we must be candid about it and learn from it.

She was wrong and she knows that.

“That is what I know the chief medical officer is doing. In making abundantly clear that she was wrong we will underline the reasons why we’re asking everyone to comply with this advice.

“But what I also know is that over these past few weeks as we have been dealing with this crisis her advice and expertise has been invaluable to me and it continues to be so.

“If I am to do what I need to do to steer the country through this crisis to the very best of my ability I need her to be able to focus on the job that she is doing — a job that, not withstanding her mistake on this, she is doing extremely well.

“So I’m not expecting you not to be angry about this mistake, and nor is she, but I am asking you to consider the wider importance to the government, and by extension the country, of being able to count on the continued expertise of the chief medical officer at this critical time as we fight this virus.”

Asked later if Dr Calderwood had offered her resignation, Ms Sturgeon said she had offered to do whatever is in the best interest of the country.

The First Minister added: “In my view, that would not be her resignation.”

Dr Calderwood reiterated her apology — but also confirmed this weekend’s visit was not the first. She admitted she paid a similar visit with her husband last weekend.


VIDEO: Dr Catherine Calderwood reveals second trip to Fife holiday home

The top doctor was visited by police on Sunday and warned that the rules apply to all.

Scotland’s Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said in a statement: “Earlier today, local officers visited Dr Catherine Calderwood and spoke to her about her actions, reiterated crucial advice and issued a warning about her future conduct, all of which she accepted.

“The legal instructions on not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse apply to everyone.”

Willie Rennie and Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat MSP and MP for the East Neuk where Dr Calderwood enjoyed an overnight stay on Saturday,  said it would be impossible for the CMO to continue do her job advising the nation on COVID-19 after she flouted her own advice — advice which she had stressed would make the difference between life and death for some people.


‘Only go out when absolutely necessary’ — What Dr Calderwood asked of the public

Dr Calderwood has been the public voice of television and radio adverts running across Scotland appealing for people to stay at home to save lives.

In the adverts, she said: “To help save lives, stay at home.

Anyone can spread coronavirus. Only go out when absolutely necessary for food, medicine, work or exercise.

“Always stay two metres apart and do not meet others outside your own household, even friends and family.

“Stay home. Protect Scotland’s NHS. And save lives.”


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