Ahead of the First Minister’s statement on Wednesday to announce new Covid restrictions, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has called for a debate and vote in parliament this week and questioned the rushed, last-minute decision to impose new restrictions.
Willie Rennie said:
“It would be unreasonable for the First Minister to expect parliament and people in Scotland to accept any new restrictions without a proper debate and scrutiny.
“The First Minister must publish a formal summary of the evidence to support any announcement of new restrictions. This document must make the case for the new restrictions to be imposed.
“We can’t run on word-of-mouth statements. The Scottish Government has been dripping out bits and pieces of information over the last week or so. It has chopped and changed its advice. That has to stop. We need to see the case for change and the evidence in full.
“People across Scotland have been doing the best they can to comply, to help stop the virus. It is reasonable for people to be given the evidence that shows that the next set of restrictions has a good chance of success.
“People made big sacrifices over the summer. It is hard for many to see the benefit gained, given infection rates are rising along with the rest of the UK.”
The Scottish Liberal Democrats want a three-stage process to have open scrutiny of any new restrictions:
1. Evidence published on the likely impact of any new restrictions at the same time as the FM makes her statement.
2. The Scottish Government’s scientific and behavioural advisers to attend a special meeting on Thursday morning to answer questions.
3. The Scottish Parliament to debate and vote on the proposals in the light of the published evidence on Thursday afternoon, with a senior minister responding to the debate before signing new regulations.