This was the week in which events down south dominated the headlines as former government adviser Dominic Cummings made an extraordinary seven-hour appearance before MPs in the House of Commons.
The Downing Street Svengali sensationally revealed he did not think his former boss Boris Johnson was fit to lead the country and heaped blame on Health Secretary Matt Hancock for a catalogue of failures in handling the pandemic.
Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made her first FMQs appearance of the new parliament in the week that saw her in talks with the Scottish Greens around forming a potential “cooperation agreement”.
Here’s a look at the top 10 political must-reads from the last week:
1. Coronavirus death rates published for every Scottish care home: The Care Inspectorate eventually published the figures in the wake of an appeal led by DC Thomson titles, The Scotsman, The Herald and STV. It details the location of 3,774 deaths across Scotland. Calum Ross has been involved in the project since its inception last year. Read the full story, here.
2.Dominic Cummings declares Boris John ‘unfit’ to be Prime Minister: Boris Johnson’s former adviser made a sensational House of Commons appearance on Wednesday in which he claimed the Prime Minister failed to take the threat of Covid-19 seriously and took a series of “disastrous” decisions that resulted in thousands of unneccessary deaths. Westminster correspondent Dan O’Donoghue covered the key moments from the mammoth seven-hour session this week.
3.Controversial ‘voter ID law’: Holyrood and Westminster could be on a collision course over proposed legislation that includes controversial plans to ask voters for photographic ID. However, concerns have been raised that it could deter many from casting their ballots, including voters who are younger or have lower incomes. Read Calum Ross’ full report, here.
4.Boris Johnson calls off virtual Covid-19 ‘summit’ with Nicola Sturgeon: The Prime Minister cancelled a virtual coronavirus “summit” with the devolved leaders after it was branded a “PR exercise”. The event, scheduled for Thursday, was cancelled by Number 10. Dan O’Donoghue has all the latest from Westminster.
5.SNP and Greens in talks over co-operation agreement: Nicola Sturgeon announced this week that her party could work with the Greens in a formal deal in government. The first minister said it is “not inconceivable” an agreement could lead to Greens taking ministerial roles in an SNP government. Read the full report from Andy Philip.
6.Passengers ‘priced out’: North-east MSP Liam Kerr claims passengers are being pushed away from Scottish airports due to a major discrepancy that leaves those returning to Scotland paying more than twice as much for Covid tests than landing in England. The first minister said the policy would remain under review but indicated that she was unlikely to follow England, stressing the quality of the NHS tests required in Scotland. Adele Merson reports on the issue.
7.Dominic Cummings has Independence Day from reality: Dan O’Donoghue’s analysis of the former adviser’s House of Commons appearance looks closely at whether Cummings was as powerless as he portrayed to MPs. He describes the evidence session as one of the “frankest accounts” of what was going on in the corridors of power at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read Dan’s analysis, here.
8.Fresh concerns over vaccine passports: New Health Secretary Humza Yousaf admitted this week he has “ethical, clinical and human rights concerns” about the domestic use of vaccine passports. Read Rachel Amery’s full report on the latest developments concerning proof of vaccination.
9.Greens look to New Zealand: The Scottish Greens revealed this week that they are looking to New Zealand’s government as a model for their potential “cooperation agreement” with the SNP. The country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined forces with the New Zealand Greens in a co-operation agreement, saying it would allow the government to benefit from the party’s expertise on areas such as the environment and climate change. Rachel Amery has the full details, here.
10.SNP social justice blueprint: The SNP published a report, co-written by Dundee MSP Shona Robison, which suggests decriminalising drugs, creating new land taxes and eradicating child poverty. The Tories claimed the plan was based on “fantasy economics” and said the SNP already have the powers to enact many of the policies. Andy Philip took a closer look at some of the report’s key findings.