Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:
“I’d like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas after another tough year. Looking back to the restrictions of last Christmas, our army of vaccinators have given us a more normal festive season this year, but Covid is still very much part of our lives.
“I was honoured to take over the leadership of the Scottish Liberal Democrats this summer and I have sought to follow Willie Rennie’s example of constructive opposition and being prepared to lay politics aside when it comes to finding our way out of the pandemic.
“This year Scottish Liberal Democrats have led calls for the Government to do more to help Scotland’s 100,000 long Covid sufferers and those suffering heightened mental ill health as a result of the pandemic.
“We have fought for your right to medical privacy, by challenging the government on the reach of their vaccine passport scheme, while using scientific evidence to press the government to move to a system of lateral flow testing for large scale events.
“We have called for the introduction of a permanent vaccine workforce, made up of a new class of healthcare professionals, to cope with the ongoing requirement for Covid boosters while allowing current vaccinators to get back to their day jobs in other parts of the NHS. At the same time, we’ve added our voice to international calls for the redistribution of vaccine surpluses to the developing world to help stop the emergence of new variants.
“With Omicron now surging in our communities, we aren’t out of the woods yet, by any means and I want to assure you that the Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to work constructively across party divides to help find our way out of the pandemic.
“I’d like to finish by thanking the key workers in our hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, transport, schools and supermarkets, many of whom will be working today, as they have done all year, to keep this country going. We owe you a tremendous amount and we are extremely grateful.