Nicola Sturgeon will not be prosecuted after breaching face mask rules - Police Scotland confirms

The First Minister was reported to police after footage showed her on the campaign trail without a mask

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Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will not be prosecuted after viral footage showed her breaching face mask law.

Police Scotland confirmed: "Local officers have spoken to the First Minister to remind her of the importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so.

"Given the circumstances of this incident, Police Scotland is satisfied that no further action is necessary. This is in line with our proportionate approach throughout the pandemic."

Nicola Sturgeon had been reported to police after footage showed her apparently breaching Scotland’s Covid face mask law on the council election campaign trail.

A video posted on social media appears to show Scotland’s First Minister not wearing a mask during a visit to a barber’s in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday.

There is currently a legal requirement to wear a face covering in most indoor public places in Scotland, including shops, public transport and hairdressers.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on her way to First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon on her way to First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh

In the video, Ms Sturgeon appears to be seen without a face covering as she mingles with customers and pats the head of a man in a barber’s chair while mimicking the sound of an electric razor.

She said: “On Saturday, while campaigning out outdoors in East Kilbride I was invited into a local barber shop. After a few seconds of being in the shop, I realised I had forgotten to put my face covering back on. I then immediately put it on.

“However, I accept that not wearing a face covering even for a few seconds was an error on my part and I am sorry for that.

“Having received complaints about the matter, Police Scotland made contact with me.

“This is what they would have done with anyone else in these circumstances, and they were absolutely right to treat me no differently to any other citizen.

“I explained that the error was inadvertent and the police have confirmed that the matter is closed.

“While the law no longer requires face coverings to be worn, I will continue to do so in circumstances where this can help reduce the risk of infection, and I encourage everyone to do likewise.”

The First Minister is wearing a tartan face mask in the video of her visit to Iconic Gents Hair posted on her official Twitter account, in which she can be seen shaving a man’s beard.

The legal requirement to wear a face mask in indoor settings in Scotland moves into guidance on Monday, however the Scottish Government has strongly recommended that people continue to wear them where appropriate.

An SNP spokesman said: “The First Minister was invited into the barber’s during an outdoor visit on the street.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the weekly First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the weekly First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland

“Within a few seconds, she realised she hadn’t put her mask back on and immediately put it on.”

Those who breach the face covering rules can face a fine of up to £60.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP said: “The video clearly shows Nicola Sturgeon isn’t practising what she preaches on face masks.

“She’s happy virtue signalling for official photos but behind closed doors it’s clear she doesn’t believe in her own rules so why should anyone else.

“This is blatant hypocrisy from the First Minister who has now shown her true colours.

“The public, who have been under these legal Covid restrictions for over two years, deserve an apology for this rule break.”

A Scottish Liberal Democrats spokesman said: “It’s incumbent on all politicians to set a good example. It looks like Nicola Sturgeon has lost track of what her own rules are.”

In December 2020, Ms Sturgeon apologised after she breached Covid rules by taking off her face mask at a funeral wake.

She described it as “a stupid mistake”, and said: “I’m really sorry.”

The Scottish Government said the incident on Saturday was an issue for the party.