LAST week, we began to take the first tentative steps out of lockdown in Scotland. At her daily conferences, Nicola Sturgeon is quick to stress that her cautious approach is in the best interests of Scotland, but her cool façade masks a government that is failing.

It is clear the Scottish Government were aware of just how contagious coronavirus is before the first positive case was confirmed in March.

Until recently, they managed to keep an outbreak at a Nike conference at an Edinburgh hotel back in February under wraps. It has been reported in the media that despite assurances to the contrary from Nicola Sturgeon, many of those at the hotel who came into contact with Nike delegates were not contacted.

Some became noticeably ill but those who had the virus asymptomatically will have been completely unaware that they continued to spread it.

Concerningly, the government has not learnt from these failings. Despite some prisons already having seen outbreaks of coronavirus and sadly deaths too, the Scottish Government has not enforced mandatory testing for those prisoners eligible for early release. Failing to make sure prisoners are virus free before liberation puts everyone at risk.

The biggest scandal, however, has been the SNP government's decision to allow some elderly patients to return to care homes without a test. This is a national scandal that could have resulted in hundreds of deaths.

Even now, the current guidance from Public Health Scotland still allows discharge if people refuse to take a test. We are calling for a full public inquiry to deliver answers to those who have lost loved ones to this terrible virus in our care homes.

Despite these failings, the NHS, care services and local businesses have been supported financially. This support has mainly been thanks to decisions taken by the UK Government.

Of the £4billion spent in Scotland fighting the virus, a staggering £3.5bn has come from the UK Government and this does not even include the significant support that has been provided by the furlough scheme to ensure that people do not lose their jobs. This just goes to show the benefits of our four nations sticking together.

Since the lockdown started, however, the Scottish Parliament has been running on a more limited basis and, while some committees continue to take place, they have only been meeting once a week. This makes it much harder to hold the SNP government to account, which is now all the more important during this coronavirus pandemic.

Westminster has resumed its normal business this week. We want to see Holyrood do the same with opposition party debates, ministerial statements and other important items of business back on the agenda. This can be done through the continued use of technology and video conferencing whilst ensuring that social distancing rules are adhered to.

We must not forget that prior to this outbreak, the SNP's poor handling of health and education was being exposed. It is vital that we can continue to hold them to account.