Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Scottish government accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over Manchester travel ban

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has accused the Scottish government of “hypocrisy” over the travel ban in the North West.

Nicola Sturgeon announced on Friday that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford would be banned from Monday, but the Labor mayor said she or her administration had not been contacted before the announcement.

The first minister identified areas as COVID-19 hotspots, despite figures for cities matching the rate of cases in parts of Scotland.

“Anyone traveling to the Greater Manchester or anywhere else in the Lancashire area, I would ask to think carefully about whether your travel is really necessary, as we see increasing cases in that area,” she said on Friday. said at a coronavirus briefing.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in an undated file photo. (Russell Chen / PA)

Speaking on “The Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday, Mr Burnham said: “I was really disappointed on Friday that the First Minister of Scotland announced out of the blue, as far as we were concerned, a travel ban. Saying that people could not ‘travel from Scotland to Manchester and Salford and people could not go the other way.

“That is what the SNP always accuses the Government of Westminster of oppressing the people. The SNP is treating us in the North of England with equal contempt in bringing it up without consultation.

He added: “I think it’s double standards, it’s hypocrisy. They’ve done to us exactly what they always complain the UK government does to Scotland.”

Burnham said he would seek his constituents who had planned to travel north of the border to be financially compensated by the Scottish government.

“I will write to the first minister today,” he said.

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“I will seek compensation for individuals who may lose vacations and businesses who may lose bookings. Why can’t a couple from Salford who are double-jabbed who are about to go on holiday in Scotland go? I think this is completely inconsistent – ​​if the ministers had been in touch with us earlier, we could have come up with a different arrangement.

Burnham said there had to be “an arrangement”, which would mean consultations between Scotland and the north of England before such travel restrictions could be imposed.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s “The Sunday Show”, Scottish Government Trade Minister Evan Mackie said a decision on COVID-19 had to be made quickly.

“The virus, as we know, moves very fast, decisions are made very rapidly and those decisions are communicated at the level of four countries,” he said.

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“Andy Burnham … going to write to the first minister about it, that’s absolutely fine and I’m sure there will be a conversation about how we can better inform him in the future.”

But Tory leader Douglas Ross, speaking on the same show, said: “We know that legislation was enacted on Thursday morning to enforce these restrictions and ban travel in Greater Manchester, yet it was not announced until 24 hours later. was done.

“If Evan Mackie says there is not enough dialogue between the UK Government and the Scottish Government, then 24 hours have passed since the decision taken by the Scottish Government the day before anyone in Greater Manchester.”

by Craig Patton


Scottish government accused of 'hypocrisy' over Manchester travel ban
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