NICOLA Sturgeon is guilty of worse mistakes than the UK Government in her handling of the pandemic, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader said the First Minister deserved credit for some aspects of the Scottish Government’s response, but also got “some major, major things wrong”.

He said in Scotland there had been “serious mistakes that have resulted in too many of our fellow citizens losing their lives”.

Ms Sturgeon has said a public inquiry into the pandemic should get underway later this year.

Mr Sarwar makes the comments in a new Herald podcast with the former BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor.

The leader of Holyrood’s third party also said he was a “socialist” despite his wealthy background and privately educating his children.

The Glasgow MSP said Ms Sturgeon had “attempted” to lead from the front in the pandemic, and was a far better communicator than Boris Johnson.

However he went on: “But I think on some of the big issues, she has made the same mistakes as the UK Government, and in the case of care homes made worse mistakes.

“And I think we need to learn from those mistakes going forward.

“We should never have been sending Covid positive patients into care homes. That didn’t require medical guidance that required common sense.

“We should have been much quicker around support around PPE for frontline workers.

“Our testing capacity rate was far too slow, particularly in terms of peak areas.

“There was a long time where the [Scottish] Government said we couldn’t take action around testing at airports, and we couldn’t do quarantining, because it was a UK-wide framework. But then we found the ability to do it 10 months into the pandemic. We could have done that much earlier.”

Highlighting the deaths of 10,000 Scots from confirmed of suspected Covid, he said: “Whilst there are things we’ve done right, we have got some major, major things wrong. And I don’t think we should shy away from being honest about that.

“Yes, she’s put in the energy, I give her credit for that. Yes, she’s attempted to lead from the front. But we have made some serious mistakes that have resulted in too many of our fellow citizens losing their lives.”

Mr Sarwar dismissed the Tory charge that Labour is weak on defending the Union as “frankly laughable”.

He said: “I’m happy to say it as slowly and as regularly as the Tories need to hear it, or the SNP need to hear it. We do not support independence. We do not support another referendum. We think we should do things differently, and not go back to those old arguments. I think Scotland deserves better than that.”

‘The Brian Taylor Podcast’ can be found on Spotify and Apple Music from 9am today.