UK (Sky News)

Coronavirus: Police warn Scottish medical chief Catherine Calderwood after holiday home visits

By April 5, 2020 No Comments
Dr Calderwood apologised for visiting her second home on more than one occasion. Pic: The Scottish Sun / News Licensing

Scotland’s chief medical officer has apologised after she visited her second house in Fife twice while advising the public to stay at home.

Dr Catherine Calderwood was photographed by The Scottish Sun visiting her holiday home on the east coast of Scotland over the weekend.

“As well as this weekend, it’s important to be clear, that I also was there last weekend with my husband. I did not follow the advice I am giving to others,” she said at the Scottish Government’s daily press briefing on Sunday.

“I’m truly sorry for that.”

Dr Calderwood apologised for visiting her second home on more than one occasion. Pic: The Scottish Sun / News Licensing
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Dr Calderwood apologised for visiting her second home on more than one occasion. Pic: The Scottish Sun / News Licensing

Dr Calderwood said there were “reasons” for her to have left her house in Edinburgh to go to second home, but that they were “not legitimate reasons”.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon defended Dr Calderwood, fielding most of the questions during the press conference, and saying her advice was “invaluable” during the pandemic.

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“All of us, including me, will make mistakes in these unprecedented times we’re living in.

“When we do, we must be candid about it and learn from. That is what I know the Chief Medical Officer is doing, in making abundantly clear that she was wrong,” the first minister said.

When asked by Sky News’ diplomatic editor Dominic Waghorn if she was aware about the Chief Medical Officer’s weekend trips, Ms Sturgeon said she was not.

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“I didn’t know about this until I was alerted to the story from the Scottish Sun last night.

“I’m one hundred per cent focused on the job I’ve got to do and there is no dubiety about that whatsoever,” she added.

A few days ago, the medical officer tweeted out a photo of her family clapping at their Edinburgh residence in celebration of NHS staff working to stop the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, Police Scotland gave Dr Calderwood a warning about her conduct after her visits.

In a statement issued on Twitter, Police Scotland say that Dr Catherine Calderwood accepted that she had gone against her own advice to the Scottish people during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Local officers visited Dr Catherine Calderwood and spoke to her about her actions, reiterated crucial advice and issued a warning about her future conduct, all of which she accepted,” Chief Constable lain Livingstone said.

“Individuals must not make personal exemptions bespoke to their own circumstances.”

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Questions are now being asked by those in opposition at Holyrood about whether Dr Calderwood’s position is tenable.

In her statement on social media, Dr Calderwood said that she had spoken to Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon on Sunday morning and said that she will “continue to focus entirely” on her role.

But the Scottish Conservatives, Scottish Labour and the Scottish Liberal Democrats have all called for her to go.

“Dr Calderwood’s position is very difficult, untenable even, given the damage this has caused public trust,” Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw said.

“The vast majority of Scots are complying with official advice to stay home and protect our NHS.

“There cannot be one rule for the bosses and another one for everyone else.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 14:  Scottish Conservative leadership winner Jackson Carlaw at the Radisson Hotel in Edinburgh on February 14, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Following the resignation of party leader Ruth Davidson in August 2019, Jackson Carlaw had been the party's interim leader. After defeating fellow leadership contender Michelle Ballantyne, he will take on the role of leading Scotland's second largest political party on a permanent basis. (Photo by Robert Perry/Getty Images)
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“There cannot be one rule for the bosses and another one for everyone else,” Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw MSP has said

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Willie Rennie MSP, and Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain both represent the constituencies of Dr Calderwood’s second home.

In a joint statement, the two called for her to go.

“There is no doubt she has worked incredibly hard and led the country well through the early stages of this crisis,” Mr Rennie and Ms Chamberlain said.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie during First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament,  on February 27, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ken Jack/Getty Images)
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Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP has called for Dr Calderwood “to go”

“If we are going to get through this pandemic, we need medical leaders who everyone can follow.

“It is with great regret that we say that the Chief Medical Officer will need to go.”

Last month, the Scottish Government issued a warning, criticising the “irresponsible behaviour” of those with second homes and campervans who travelled to the Highlands in an attempt to self-isolate.

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