The First Minister has been briefing the country on coronavirus since March. (Image: Getty Images)

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie "welcomes" BBC decision on daily Covid-19 briefings

Baillie has been criticised fiercely by the SNP's Toni Giugliano however, who hopes to be the person to challenge for her seat at next year's Scottish Parliament elections.


BBC Scotland’s decision to axe the televising of daily Covid-19 briefings has been welcomed by a local politician.

Labour MSP Jackie Baillie previously met with BBC chiefs to express her concerns that the briefings were becoming too focused on politics rather than the pandemic, with the broadcaster announcing last Thursday that it would decide whether or not to broadcast the updates based on “editorial merit.”

Every briefing will continue to be screened on the BBC website.

And Baillie was pleased with the organisation’s decision.
Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie has welcomed the decision. (Image: Lennox Herald)

She said: “The BBC needs to ensure political balance in their coverage and I welcome their recent move to cover statements by the First Minister and other government ministers in the parliament.

“This allows for that balance as well as maintaining the important flow of information to the public.

“I recently met with the BBC to ask about the criteria surrounding the daily briefings, especially as much of the recent coverage was moving away from public health messages.

“I have not campaigned for an end to the BBC’s coverage of the First Minister’s briefing, as some have suggested, or for public health messages to be stopped.

“Ultimately, the BBC will use their editorial judgement to decide what they cover and that is rightly a matter for them.”

However, the decision has been slammed by some in the SNP, with education secretary John Swinney labelling the televised briefings “crucial.”

Fierce opposition has also come from Toni Giugliano, who is hoping to stand against Baillie for the SNP in next May’s Scottish Parliament elections.

He said: “There are many people in the constituency – particularly older people, those shielding and those who need to make childcare arrangements – who watch those briefings to find out the latest guidance.
Toni Giugliano labelled the decision "incomprehensible." (Image: Lennox Herald)

“Jackie Baillie’s actions are even more incomprehensible when you consider that West Dunbartonshire is one of the local authorities where guidance has changed in recent days and will likely change again.

“We need to all work together to give communities clarity and the most up to date information – that’s the only way we will suppress this virus.”