NICOLA Sturgeon has effectively accused Boris Johnson of adding to the death toll from coronavirus by failing to take quick and decisive action during the pandemic.

Despite Scotland broadly mirroring the lockdown south of the border, the First Minister said “bitter experience” had shown the importance of “responsible decision-making” by leaders.

Ms Sturgeon also cited the explosive testimony by the Prime Minister’s former aide Dominic Cummings to MPs yesterday, in which he said Mr Johnson was unfit for office and claimed tens of thousands of more people had died because of the UK Government’s shoddy response.

Mr Cumming singled out Mr Johnson’s failure to order a second lockdown early enough in the autumn of 2020 for contributing to fatalities.

At FMQs, Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross asked Ms Sturgeon about help for businesses in Glasgow suffering because of the extended lockdown in the city.

Ms Sturgeon said she would work as closely as possible with businesses and try to give them as much notice as possible of any changes to the restrictions.

She said: “But sometimes I’m afraid, in the interests of health and human life, it is necessary for people in leadership positions like me to take very quick decisions, because as we know from bitter experience over this pandemic, it’s often the failure to take quick and firm decisions that leads to loss of life. 

“And anybody who’s in any doubt about that only had to listen to a fraction of what Dominic Cummings outlined about what he described as the chaotic response of the UK Government at key moments of this pandemic.

“So I will continue to try to take difficult decisions as well as I possibly can.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson denies government failings led to thousands of unecessary deaths

Mr Ross accused her of trying to deflect from the issue he had asked about.

He said: “The First Minister answered a question about restrictions in Glasgow and more support for businesses affected there by referencing Dominic Cummings.

“I’m sure there wil be plenty of time from your backbenchers’ scripted questions to answer about Dominic Cummings. 

“I want to focus on what is happening in Scotland’s largest city and the impact that is having on businesses and in our communities.”

Ms Sturgeon responded: “The point I was making in my earlier answer was about the importance of careful, cautious, responsible decision-making in the face of a deadly virus.

“I was also pointing out with reference to some of what we heard yesterday, what the impact and implications can be if a leader does not take careful, cautious and responsible decisions.

“I think most people across the country understand the seriousness of the point that I am making.

“Why is that relevant and not deflective? Because we are still in the face of this pandemic and it remains important that we take those careful decisions.”

Asked today about Mr Cummings’s claims, Mr Johnson said: “At every stage we’ve been governed by a determination to protect life, to save life, and to ensure that our NHS is not overwhelmed. And we’ve followed to the best we can the data and the guidance we’ve had.”

Asked today if he said he would rather see “bodies pile high” than order a third lockdown, as Mr Cummings said he did, Johnson replied: “I have already made my position very clear on that point. I’m getting on with the job of delivering the road map that I think is the sensible way forward.

Pressed on whether Mr Cummings was telling the truth, Mr Johnson sidestepped the question. Asked if that meant he was not contesting what Mr Cummings said, Mr Johnson replied: “I make no comment on that.”