Any coronavirus statements made by Nicola Sturgeon during Holyrood’s summer recess should be done in Parliament, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone has been asked to recall Parliament to debate any Government announcements about changes to coronavirus restrictions.
The Tories have insisted that ministers “respect” Parliament by announcing decisions in the debating chamber rather than at televised briefings or – in the case of the Manchester travel ban – through written answers.
The PA news agency understands talks are under way between Holyrood’s parties about arrangements for MSPs returning to Parliament for the statements – particularly those where decisions on restrictions being eased are being announced.
Thursday is the last day Parliament sits until September, with recess scheduled for June 26 to August 29.
In a statement in Holyrood earlier this week, the First Minister said the current Covid levels across Scotland will not change for the next three weeks, with the Scottish Government expected to confirm on Tuesday July 13 whether all of Scotland will move to Level 0 from the following Monday.
The following month, all major Covid-19 restrictions are set to be lifted, with an announcement expected ahead of the August 9 target date.
Prior to last summer’s recess, parties agreed a number of days where MSPs would return to debate the coronavirus situation, rather than the Presiding Officer formally recalling Parliament – as most recently happened in the wake of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.
But ahead of any conclusion from cross-party talks, Scottish Conservative chief whip Steven Kerr has proposed that the Presiding Officer recalls Parliament at three-week intervals on July 12, August 2 and August 23.
Mr Kerr said: “Nicola Sturgeon must respect the Scottish Parliament and deliver any Covid statements to MSPs, not only to TV cameras.
“The First Minister should face scrutiny when making important decisions with huge consequences for people’s lives.
“I have asked the Presiding Officer to intervene and prevent the SNP Government from choosing when and how they face questions from the opposition.
“Our proposal would recall the Scottish Parliament for just a few days over the two-month recess, which is not a big inconvenience over an issue of such magnitude.”
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