Nicola Sturgeon said she can see “no reason” why the Scottish Parliament election due in May should not go ahead.

The First Minister said that while contingency legislation setting out alternative options for the election had been passed, other countries had been able to have elections amid the global pandemic. 

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Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme, she said: “I see no reason at this stage why the election wouldn’t go ahead.

“I think everybody would agree it’s really important that our democratic processes continue and that elections happen.

“There have been elections in many other countries over the course of the pandemic.”

She added that it may be possible to lift the latest Covid-19 restrictions if the vaccination programme manages to push ahead of the virus in the “race” over the coming months.

She said the health service hopes to vaccinate everyone on the priority list – some 2.7 million people – by early May.

“I described it yesterday as a race: we’ve got the vaccines in one lane – we’re trying to accelerate that.

“We’ve got the virus, which has just learned to run faster, in the other lane, and we’ve got to slow it down.”

She continued: “Lockdown is about trying to slow down the virus and push rates of it back down.

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“Now, if we manage to do that, then hopefully we will be able to start lifting some of these restrictions while the vaccination programme is ongoing, even in that first phase of it.

“But I can’t be certain about that yet, because it’s dependent on us managing to get the levels of infection down.”