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Nicola Sturgeon hints at more border restrictions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Scotland-England border has become increasingly politicized during the coronavirus crisis

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has suggested that further coronavirus-related restrictions could be placed on the Scotland-England border, but that these would be guided on risk as opposed to politics.

This comes on the heels of reports earlier this month that the Scottish Police is looking at “enforcing” lockdown restrictions around a “cross-border” cluster of coronavirus cases.

Speaking on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show, Sturgeon said quarantine for visitors from elsewhere in the UK “could not be ruled out”.

Sturgeon, who is also the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), told Andrew Marr: “One of our biggest risks over the next few weeks, as we have driven levels of the virus to very low levels in Scotland, is the risk of importation into the country”.

"And - this is not a position I relish being in - it also means that we have to take a very close look at making sure that we are not seeing the virus come in from other parts of the UK", the SNP leader added.

But the First Minister was careful to depoliticize the issue by framing her language in terms of risk to public health.

“That's not political … It's not constitutional … It's just taking a similar view to countries across the world in terms of protecting the population from the risk of the virus", Stugeon said.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, Sturgeon has come under pressure from the SNP rank and file – in addition to the Scottish independence movement more broadly – to close the border with England on public health grounds.

These calls have elicited a knee-jerk reaction from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who only last week described them as “astonishing and shameful”.

Addressing Prime Minister’s Questions session at the House of Commons last Wednesday Johnson went as far as to claim “there is no such thing as a border between England and Scotland”.   


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