THE First Minister underlined fears over potential medicines shortages in the event of a No-Deal Brexit after the outgoing chief medical officer in England warned lives could be lost as a result.

Nicola Sturgeon said comments made yesterday morning by Dame Sally Davies were “absolutely horrifying” as she condemned Boris Johnson and the Scottish Conservatives for contemplating leaving the EU without an agreement.

“I have seen the comments that Dame Sally Davies made this morning. They are absolutely horrifying,” Sturgeon told MSPs at First Minister’s Questions.

“She said that lives are at risk and it cannot be guaranteed that people will not die because of potential medicine shortages and the impact of a No-Deal Brexit.

“If nothing else that has been said over recent weeks and months about the consequences of a No-Deal Brexit has made any difference to the United Kingdom Government, I really hope that those comments today will make that difference.”

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She continued: “I know that Michael Gove is in Scotland for meetings later today and the question for him has to be: do people have to die before this UK Government comes to its senses and rules out a No-Deal Brexit completely?

“It is absolutely unconscionable that it is still being contemplated and that at times it appears to be the desired policy of the Prime Minister and others.

“It is beyond belief, particularly in light of the comments from Dame Sally Davies, that Jackson Carlaw and the Scottish Conservatives seem happy to back Boris Johnson in taking the UK out of the European Union with no deal. I do not think that people in Scotland will readily forgive them for that.”

The National: Michael Gove

The First Minister made the comments as she responded to a question from SNP MSP Clare Adamson, who said she had received a handwritten note from an elderly constituent who is deeply worried about the impact of Brexit on her health.

Adamson added that she had informed the woman of the ministerial statement on Tuesday about measures the Scottish Government is doing to prepare for the impact of a No-Deal withdrawal.

Later, Gove directly contradicted England’s most senior medical adviser insisting he stood by his assurances that no one’s health will suffer as a result of no agreement being secured.

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Speaking in Edinburgh, the Cabinet Office minister said: “I was at a meeting of the [EU Exit Operations] committee earlier today where we were reassured by the Department of Health and Social Care on the work that has been undertaken in order to ensure that we can have not just an uninterrupted supply, but also everything the NHS needs to keep people well and safe.”

Asked if he thought Davies was being alarmist, he said: “I’m a great fan of Dame Sally, but my job is just to make sure that we do all the work required in order to mitigate any risk.”

Gove was then asked if stood by his remarks to the Commons last month, when he assured MPs that no-one’s health will suffer because of a No-Deal Brexit. The Brexiteer Conservative frontbencher, who is in charge of No-Deal preparations, replied: “Yes.”

Dam Sally told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The health service and everyone has worked very hard to prepare. But I say what I’ve said before, that we cannot guarantee that there will not be shortages not only in medicines but technology and gadgets and things. And there may be deaths, we can’t guarantee there won’t.”

Asked if lives are threatened, she replied: “They are at risk.”