Sturgeon forced into huge u-turn after SNP accused of exploiting coronavirus for profit
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Annie Wells MSP, deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, branded it a “tasteless venture” and also wrote to SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, who is also the First Minister’s husband. In her letter, the Glasgow MSP urged the party to donate any money made from the coverings to “causes fighting coronavirus”.
In her letter, the Glasgow MSP urged the party to donate any money made from the coverings to “causes fighting coronavirus”.
She claimed profits were being made by the SNP over a public health measure put in place by Ms Sturgeon, which mandated the wearing of face coverings in shops and on public transport.
On the SNP official website, the party has been selling face masks for £8 and face coverings for £14, branded with SNP logos and saltires including the Yes mark demonstrating support for Scottish independence.
After a statement at Holyrood yesterday when she announced the reopening of schools, the First Minister was challenged by Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw over the practice during a heated exchange over the politicisation of the pandemic.
In a row over the efficacy of statistics used by the First Minister, Mr Carlaw said: “I think the First Minister has to be very careful when she talks about playing politics when she as the leader and the chief executive of her party (Mr Murrell) profiteer from coronavirus by producing party political face masks to raise funds for the SNP.”
In response, the First Minister said: “I will continue to do everything to persuade people to wear face coverings and in terms of my party, every penny of profit made will go to charity, actually.”
It is not known which charity will receive the donations from the SNP.
In her letter to Mr Murrell, Ms Wells said: “I’m sure you are aware that by selling these face masks you stand to profit, both financially and politically, from a public health measure imposed by your own party.
“I would, therefore, urge you to stop this immediately, and as a gesture of goodwill, donate the proceeds to causes fighting coronavirus.”
The practice was first flagged by Cllr Malcolm Cunning, a Labour councillor on Glasgow City Council last Saturday.
Posting on Twitter, Cllr Cunning, said: “The folks at the SNP would put a logo on their granny’s coffin if they thought it would gain them a single vote.”
But defending the face mask, SNP councillor Mhairi Hunter, Convener for Health and Social Care Integration on Glasgow City Council claimed Cllr Cunning was “feigning horror” over the products.
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She added: “Face coverings are going to be part of how we live for some time to come.
“We need to think of them the same way as our clothes.
“Things we put on every day when we go out to the shop or to get a bus etc.”
A spokesman for the SNP said in response: “Like all those with similar products, we’re encouraging our supporters to wear a face covering and to help suppress the virus.
“As the First Minister has made clear, all profits will go to charity.”
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