Nicola Sturgeon has dismissed claims the Aberdeen lockdown was a product of politically motivated bias, describing the suggestion as “ridiculous”.
Reacting to remarks made by Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden, the first minister said it depressed her that there were people who thought her decisions were based on a “crazy, party-political” view.
Ms Sturgeon was responding to Mr Lumsden’s claim there had been “double standards” over the way Aberdeen had been treated compared with Glasgow.
This week the first minister announced a tightening of restrictions on visiting other households in Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire following a spike in positive tests for Covid-19 in the west of the country.
I’ve got to the point that if there are still people out there prepared to think I am taking these decisions from some kind of crazy, party-political point of view then they are always going to believe the worst of me and there’s probably nothing I can do to convince them.”
Mr Lumsden claimed a less severe approach had been adopted when compared with the five-mile travel restriction imposed on Aberdeen and the closures of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs when the Granite City was put into a local lockdown last month.
On social media the Conservative councillor accused the first minister of treating Glasgow differently because of how it voted in the 2014 independence referendum.
Glasgow is a "yes" city so escapes the lockdown Aberdeen had.
— Douglas Lumsden (@dlumsden) September 1, 2020
Mr Lumsden said: “Aberdeen’s fragile economy was hammered thanks to the first minister’s statutory restrictions and many places have decided simply not to reopen until 2021, instead making staff redundant.”
Ms Sturgeon has said the measures taken in Aberdeen were down to the hospitality sector being the driver of virus spread whereas it has been down to households meeting in Glasgow.
At her daily coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon reacted angrily to Mr Lumsden’s claims.
“It just depresses me, actually,” the first minister said. “It is very complicated, I know that, but I hope I have given people a sense of what drives these decisions. And we look at what’s driving an outbreak in Aberdeen. It was very much pubs. In Glasgow it’s households and that basically leads to the restrictions that unfortunately we have to put on.
“I’ve got to the point that if there are still people out there prepared to think I am taking these decisions from some kind of crazy, party-political point of view then they are always going to believe the worst of me and there’s probably nothing I can do to convince them.
“But I hope that kind of view is the minority and I hope that the majority of reasonable people – whether you agree with my politics or not and whether you agree with the decisions I arrive at or not – do get a sense we are trying to take them for the right reasons.”
Ms Sturgeon went on to say that Mr Lumsden had been part of the decision making process that sent Aberdeen into lockdown.
She added: “I’m not going to say any more about that because I just think it is ridiculous.”