The SNP chief was photographed with five other people and was not wearing a mask. He was forced to apologise after breaking the Scottish Government’s regulations against outdoor gatherings of more than four adults. Scottish Government guidance says: “Under the stay at home regulations, travel is permitted for work or volunteering which cannot be done from home.
“Candidates and agents can travel to the constituency or region in which the candidate is standing if the activity cannot be done from home.
“Similarly, party leaders and the minimal number necessary of supporting staff can travel between local authority areas to campaign.”
The incident occurred when Mr Swinney was out campaigning in Perthshire North on Friday Afternoon at 3pm.
The Deputy First Minister of Scotland then posted a photograph of himself out campaigning to his Twitter account, but then removed it.
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The photograph uploaded to Twitter appears to show Mr Swinney breaching the Scottish Government guidance that states only four people from two households are able to meet up outside.
In the photograph, Mr Swinney is out leafleting, however it shows more than four people gathered together, including Mr Swinney.
A senior SNP source familiar with the incident said: “Mr Swinney is deeply apologetic for his actions.
“But it’s not a good look especially as we’re losing MP’s to Alex Salmond’s Alba party.”
Murdo Fraser, Mid Scotland and Fife Candidate, commented: “This is very embarrassing for John Swinney, who, as deputy first minister, should be very aware of the various Covid restrictions.
“What this does illustrate is just how complicated the many Covid restrictions are, and how many of them are difficult to understand.
“The success of the UK Government’s vaccination programme should mean that we should start to see some of the restrictions starting to be eased, and this should result in situations like this not arising.”
Additional reporting by Richard Percival.