NICOLA Sturgeon expertly picked apart Anas Sarwar’s “opposition for opposition’s sake” over vaccine passports.

The Scottish Labour leader used his spot at FMQs to discuss vaccine certifcation ahead of a debate in Holyrood this afternoon and stated that the party would not support the proposals.

However, the First Minister forensically dismantled Sarwar’s claims that a negative lateral flow test would be more effective than the scheme.

She also criticised the Scottish Labour leader for his stance and said “a bit more genuine grown up politics on this issue would go a long way”.

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If the motion passes in Holyrood, vaccine passports will come into effect on October 1.

But during FMQs today, the First Minister deftly defended the policy under questioning from Sarwar.

The Scottish Labour leader began by citing advice given by Sage on how to reduce transmission of the virus.

Sarwar said: “One, isolate those that are infectious from the rest of the population, vaccine passports won’t do that.

"Two, reduce the likelihood they will enter high risk settings or situations, vaccine passports won’t do that.

"Three, attempt to decreare the transmission risk from an infectious person in any given environment and given the high transmissability of the delta variant, vaccine passports won’t do that.”

The National:

The First Minister defended the passport certifcation scheme during FMQs

He then asked the First Minister what evidence led her to “change her mind” and support vaccine passports.

The First Minister quickly responded that she hand’t changed her mind and had said in Parliament on multiple occasions that the Government is “considering the issue”.

She said: “Vaccine certification is not a 100% solution in itself, all of these things Sarwar has run though have to be done but in addition vaccine passports can provide an added layer of protection.”

Sturgeon added that vaccine certification at events would “reduce the risk of transmission” and of serious illness, as well as giving an alternative to further closures of businesses during the winter months.

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She also took a dig at Sarwar suggesting that “a bit more genuine grown up politics on this issue would go a long way”.

Sarwar said in response: “I had respect for all of the First Minister’s answer apart from the end part of that. Is she saying that all those businesses worried out there, are being disrespectful?

“Is she saying that the thousands of people that have emailed us are being disrespectful? “These are serious questions which deserve serious answers.”

Sarwar then criticised the document published this morning setting out the vaccine certification plans as containing “no evidence” of how it will make a difference or work in practice.

Sturgeon said: “Firstly I did make a comment about Anas Sarwar’s position, it wasn’t a comment on anybody elses position, because I do think to have said categorically as he did at the weekend that no matter what he was going to vote against something, actually, frankly, is opposition for opposition’s sake and I think that reflects really poorly on him but that is my opinion, people can agree or disagree.”

The First Minister added that most businesses are likely to “on balance” prefer to be able to operate rather than facing a period of closure, which vaccine certification would allow.

Sarwar then argued that as you can still get the virus whilst being vaccinated, a negative test is more important going into a large venue.

He added: “But under these proposals, someone who doesn’t have a vaccine passport and doesn’t have the virus will not be allowed to enter venues, but someone who does have a passport and does have the virus can walk straight in.

“How does that make sense?”

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The First Minister quickly hit back and pulled apart Sarwar’s claims.

She said: “I think most people watching this will probably breathe a sigh of relief Anas Sarwar is not standing here because clever quips might sound good in student union, but when you’re actually trying to deal with global pandemic it is more important that you have the solutions that help to keep people safe.”

Taking his points in turn, on a negative test being more important the First Minister said the issue was that lateral flow tests are self-reporting which means it “doesn’t make sense to put too much reliance on them”.

The National:

Sarwar said Scottish Labour would not support the certification proposals 

She added that although you can still get the virus whilst vaccinated, vaccination reduces the risk of hospitalisation or serious illness.

She added: “So if you’re saying to somebody, do you want to be in a nightclub where some people are unvaccinated or do you want to be in a nightclub where everyone is vaccinated, in the latter your risk of getting the virus is going to be significantly lower than in the former.

“Is it eradicated? No, but no single measure will eradicate risk so this is about having a basket of measures.

“It’s about testing, it’s about making sure people isolate when they are required to, but it’s also about making sure that we use the vaccine to its fullest effect. Drive up the rates of vaccination and then make sure we’re using the protection of vaccination as effectively possible, so this is part of a solution.”

MSPs will vote on whether or not to introduce vaccine certification in Holyrood this afternoon (September 9).