AN SNP MP has sparked an online row after tweeting a Covid graphic with “combative, aggressive” messaging, according to a Conservative MSP.

Stephen Kerr, Scottish Tory MSP for Central Scotland, claims the post shows the SNP are “determined to make English people feel uncomfortable” north of the border.

His comments came as the nationalist’s Douglas Chapman MP posted an image with the caption “Thank you for your co-operation #LoveU”.

The image read: “No mask, No Scotland.

“If you’re visiting us this summer, wear a mask. Scotland isn’t England. Our laws are different”.


READ MORE: Sturgeon says ministers will 'reflect' on use of graphics after Swinney row

The graphic contains the website address of the Scottish Government at the bottom, however a spokeswoman has confirmed this is not an official government graphic and has instead been mocked up online.

The original version was created by Twitter user Owen Williams, with his graphic stating “Wales isn’t England”. It too sparked division online.

In England, the legal requirement to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces has ended. But UK Government guidance says it "expects and recommends" the continued wearing of masks in crowded areas such as public transport.

In Scotland, however, masks must still be worn on public transport and in shops, as well as in pubs and restaurants when not seated. 

Nicola Sturgeon has said rules on face coverings will, "in all likelihood", remain in place for some time.

This is not the first row to emerge this week following the use of graphics on social media – with Deputy First Minister John Swinney previously being accused of posting unverified information online.


READ MORE: John Swinney criticised for 'misleading' and 'reckless' mask wearing risk tweet

Criticising the most recent post, Mr Kerr said: “I understand the importance of spreading the message about COVID restrictions in Scotland- but surely we can do that without combative, aggressive messages like ‘Scotland isn't England’.

“The SNP seem determined to make English people feel uncomfortable in Scotland.”

The SNP MP replied: “Stephen, I don’t think asking for a bit of co-operation and consideration is too much to ask?

“You maybe missed the #LoveU bit too?”

On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon said minister would “reflect” on the credibility of graphics being used to illustrate coronavirus information following the John Swinney row.

John Swinney, who is also the Covid Recovery Secretary, tweeted an image with claims about the protection gained by the use of face coverings.

The graphic claimed there is no risk of transmission if two people stand six feet apart and both are wearing a mask.

But the exact figures used in the illustration do not appear to be supported by evidence and the original source of the graphic is not apparent.

The post remains on Mr Swinney’s page, despite calls from Scottish Tory shadow secretary for health, Annie Wells, urging him to delete the “misleading graphic”.

She added: “It wrongly sends a message that there is no risk from Covid in certain circumstances and makes several claims that appear to be unfounded.

“This looks unnecessarily reckless coming from a senior SNP Government minister.”



Ms Sturgeon was asked about its use during a Scottish Government coronavirus briefing.  She said: "The Deputy First Minister tweeted an image yesterday that was intended to illustrate what is absolutely the case – that wearing face masks protects people from transmission of the virus."

She continued: "He was illustrating that point, and I think the more we can illustrate that point, the better.

"What I will say in addition to that is that I think we recognise that in seeking to illustrate that, we should take care to use properly verified graphics, and we'll certainly take that on board in terms of how we tweet that information in future.

"But getting the general point across, he is absolutely right to seek to do, as I seek to do on a general, ongoing basis as well."

Ms Sturgeon later added: "I do recognise the importance of people like me and the Deputy First Minister and ministers sharing verified information. 

"The point we're trying to illustrate – that John was trying to illustrate yesterday – is a really important point to illustrate, and it is the case that face coverings help protect us, and therefore I don't think we should lose sight of that point. 

"But I take the point about the credibility of the graphics that are helping to illustrate that, and I'm sure we will all reflect on that."