Election campaigning has been very different during pandemic, says Sturgeon

The First Minister has continued leading the response to Covid while supporting SNP candidates across the country.

Election campaigning has been very different during pandemic, says Sturgeon

Coronavirus has meant this year’s Holyrood election campaign has been like no other – with the pandemic ensuring Nicola Sturgeon has been busy with two jobs for the duration.

As SNP leader, Ms Sturgeon has travelled the country in support of her party’s candidates and speaking – in a socially distanced way – to voters.

But as First Minister she has also been the person responsible for the Scottish Government’s ongoing efforts to tackle coronavirus.

Nicola Sturgeon greets a supporter with an elbow bump on the campaign trail in North Berwick (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“That is very different because there is one piece of essential business which can’t just stop, which is the response to Covid.

“So every day just now I am not just on the campaign trail, I am having to concentrate and focus on Covid data, and the decisions the Government is having to take and making sure I continue to oversee the Government response to Covid.”

Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon, pictured during a campaign stop in Renfrew, said it has been strange not to be able to ‘press the flesh and chap doors’ during this election campaign (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said Covid-19 makes it more difficult to “really engage properly with people, to press the flesh and chap doors and do all the things I really enjoy doing”.

She recalled being out in her Glasgow Southside constituency early in the campaign, before politicians were allowed to speak to voters on the doorstep.

The SNP leader said: “I was in my own constituency doing a bit of leafletting in the middle of the day, and it struck me that in a normal campaign I would have been out at that time of the day chapping doors, and nobody would have been in, because everybody would have been at work.

Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon met eight-month-old Habibba Hassan while campaigning in her Glasgow Southside constituency last month (Jane Barlow/PA)

When she has been out and about on the campaign trail, she has been careful to keep her distance as much as possible from voters who want to speak to her.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It feels different and I wish, really wish, we could be campaigning in the normal way, but it is what it is and we have to find different ways of engaging.”

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