THE BBC decided to stop televising Nicola Sturgeon’s daily briefings on coronavirus to ensure a “consistent approach to coverage...  across the UK nations”, despite public health messages varying around the country. 

A leaked briefing note shows the corporation also claimed the Scottish Parliament, schools and other parts of daily life had largely returned to “normal business”. 

The BBC’s decision to end TV its regular broadcasts of the Scottish Government’s Covid briefings has prompted thousands to sign a petition for them to continue.

READ MORE: Vote in our poll: Should daily coronavirus briefings be broadcast live everyday on BBC Scotland?

Deputy First Minister John Swinney this morning called the decision “a matter of regret” and urged the BBC to reconsider, warning older people could struggle with online alternatives.

However opposition parties, who claimed the briefings had become increasingly politicised, with Ms Sturgeon and her ministers straying into constitutional issues, are more content.

Labour peer George Foulkes, who complained to BBC Scotland director Donalda Mackinnon about the briefings, said he was glad she had "taken account" of it.

"All important information on the pandemic will still be broadcast but now no party propaganda,” he added. 

Tory MSP Graham Simpson callled it: "Excellent news."

The briefing note sent to politicians by BBC Scotland states: “From this coming Monday, 14th September, we plan to change the way we cover the briefings on TV.  

“Now that the Scottish Parliament has more or less returned to normal business and with education and other sectors re-opening, we think this is the right time to make that change.  

“It also means that from the 14th, the BBC is applying a consistent approach to coverage of the various government briefings across the UK nations, with our colleague at BBC Wales also making a change at this point.     

“Instead of broadcasting every briefing live on BBC One Scotland and the BBC Scotland Channel, we will decide whether to broadcast them on editorial merit.  

“Some days this may still mean live TV coverage on our channels in Scotland; on other days we may use the content in our subsequent news programmes.”

Since Ms Sturgeon began the daily briefings, her personal ratings, support for the SNP and support for independence have all risen.

Although the UK Government also held daily briefings at the start of the pandemic, it later cut them back and Boris Johnson became an increasingly rare participant.

READ MORE: Thousands sign petition urging BBC Scotland to reverse decision to stop broadcasting daily briefings

The Prime Minister’s Covid briefing from Number 10 on Wednesday about the new “rule of six’’ on social gatherings south of the border was his first since July.

Scottish Greens health spokesperson Alison Johnstone said: “Given we are at a point when the virus is spreading again, and public health guidance is varied across the country, the timing of this decision by the BBC is very odd indeed.

“This is not about party politics. The BBC’s charter means it has a duty to provide the public with vital information, and the fact is not everyone has access to the internet. If we are to prevent the spread of this deadly virus then the public health advice for different parts of Scotland needs to reach as many people as possible.

“The BBC must explain the rationale behind this and explain what they intend to broadcast instead that will reach those who can’t watch the briefings online.”