Just in time for the weekend, here’s a look at the top 10 political must-reads from the last seven days:
1. John Swinney apologises after being reported to statistics watchdog over ‘fake news’ Covid tweet
Covid recovery secretary John Swinney had to apologise this week after being reported to the UK Statistics Authority over his use of a “fake news” infographic. On Monday morning Mr Swinney tweeted a badly cropped image used in a well-known meme with claims about mask protection. Those figures have been strongly disputed by international fact checking websites. As Derek Healey reports, by Wednesday the Scottish Conservatives had written to the UK’s National Statistician to flag up the problematic graphic and Mr Swinney – who is also deputy first minister – deleted the post from his Twitter account with an apology. Read the full story here.
2. Dundee holocaust survivor’s Brexit fears raised in Parliament by MP
The plight of Dundee Holocaust survivor Irena Jendrycha has been raised again in Parliament. As The Courier’s political editor Paul Malik reports, Ms Jendrycha’s local MP submitted an early day motion to draw attention to her case and the contributions made to the UK by EU nationals. Ms Jendrycha has lived in the UK most of her life after being rescued from a Nazi death camp at the end of WWI, and then arrived in Britain as a toddler. She is still waiting to find out whether she will get permission to keep living in Scotland now that Britain has left the EU. Irena, 77, described the experience of applying for settled status after Brexit like something from “the horrors of her past” and the process left her feeling as if “any goodness was sucked out of me like a syringe”. Read more about her story here.
3. Holyrood, Westminster, Stormont and Senedd urge UK Government to keep £20 Universal Credit uplift
Politicians from Holyrood, Westminster, the Northern Irish Assembly and the Welsh Senedd wrote to the UK Government this week, urging it to make the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit permanent. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Work and Pensions increased Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit payments by £20 a week. However earlier this month it was confirmed the uplift will be stopped in October. As Rachel Amery reports, there’s an estimated six million people claiming Universal Credit who will lose £1,040 in annual income overnight. Read more here.
4. Ruth Davidson appointed to House of Lords
Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said she never believed “someone like me” could be appointed to the House of Lords, ahead of taking up her new role this week. Ms Davidson, who served as Holyrood leader for the party until May’s Scottish Parliament election, has taken the title Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links, the village in Fife where she grew up from the age of five and where her parents still live. Read the full story here.
5. Scottish Green hit out at UK Government’s ‘catastrophic’ proposals to develop Cambo oilfield
The Scottish Greens are challenging Holyrood to oppose plans to potentially develop an oilfield off the coast of Shetland, saying it is “incompatible” with the country’s climate targets. Westminster looks set to agree to invest and develop the Cambo oilfield in the North Sea, and if approved it could produce up to 170 million additional barrels of oil in its first phase. This would be equivalent to running 18 coal-fired power stations for a year. The Scottish Greens say if approved, this new oilfield would operate until 2050, which is “well past the point” and “too late” to contain global warming. Read more here.
6. Father of tragic RAF officer asks for new Tornado crash inquiry
The father of an RAF officer who died in a Tornado jet collision has raised fears that “all possible lessons have not been learned” from the tragedy. As Calum Ross reports, Michael Poole issued the warning in a letter to Scotland’s new lord advocate, Dorothy Bain QC, as he gave his backing to fresh calls for a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) into the 2012 crash which killed his son, Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole, and two other airmen. Read Calum’s full story here.
7. Should Scotland introduce directly-elected city mayors like Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan?
Former Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins says that Scotland should introduce directly-elected city mayors to help boost economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and improve transparency and accountability. In a long read this week, we take a look at the successes of elected mayors in some parts of England, as Mr Tomkins says bringing vital inward investment would be one of the key roles of a new elected mayor. Read the full story here.
8. Power-sharing talks between the SNP and Greens have ‘progressed’
A proposed power-sharing deal between the SNP and Scottish Greens has “progressed” and could be announced within the next two weeks. It’s been several months since First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the possibility of a formal deal between the two parties and it is understood that civil servants and Scottish Government lawyers are now poring over the fine details of the draft agreement to ensure it is workable and can be delivered. Read more here.
9. Michael Gove: I’ll be enjoying my retirement before indyref2
Michael Gove has laughed off SNP referendum demands, telling a House of Lords committee that he would be “enjoying retirement” before Westminster permits another poll. Appearing before the Lords’ constitution committee this week, the 53-year-old Cabinet Office minister told peers that Nicola Sturgeon’s party had lost momentum and support for separation in Scotland was falling. Click here for the full story.
10. Boris Johnson ‘put folk at risk of an early death’ with Covid response
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was blasted this week after leaked text messages appeared to show the prime minister opposed Covid restrictions as he believed those dying were “essentially all over 80”. As our Westminster correspondent Dan O’Donoghue reports, the prime minister allegedly noted in text messages leaked by former adviser Dominic Cummings, that the “median age” for those dying was between 81 and 82, adding: “That is above life expectancy. So get Covid and Live longer.” Read the full story here.