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Andy Burnham and Nicola Sturgeon clash over Covid travel ban

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)
Nicola Sturgeon (L) and Andy Burnham (R) have clashed over the enforcement of Covid-19 travelling restrictions

An angry row has erupted between Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, over the latter’s decision to impose a travel ban on parts of north-western England.

Sturgeon, who is also the leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), announced on Friday (June 18) that non-essential travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford would be banned from Monday (June 21) because of high Covid-19 rates in the area.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the Greater Manchester mayor said: “I was really disappointed on Friday that the First Minister of Scotland [Nicola Sturgeon] just announced out of the blue - as far as we were concerned - a travel ban saying that people couldn't travel from Scotland to Manchester and Salford, and people couldn't go the other way”.

"That is exactly what the SNP always accuse the Westminster government of doing - riding roughshod over people”, Burnham complained.

"The SNP are treating the north of England with the same contempt in bringing that in without any consultation with us”, Burnham added before accusing the SNP and Sturgeon of “double standards” and “hypocrisy”.

Meanwhile, the Scottish government has defended the decision by claiming it was made after “careful consideration”.

According to a Scottish government spokesman, Scottish rules on travel are “kept under active review” and could “sometimes happen at short notice” based on the available data.

The spokesman added that Covid-19 rates in Manchester and Salford were "particularly high at the moment and these restrictions are intended to minimize the risk of either exacerbating the situation there or indeed allowing more virus to come back here to Scotland".



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