Sturgeon slapped down for dictating travel rules to Boris: ‘Like tail wagging the dog!’
UK borders ‘still a bit too leaky’ says Nicola Sturgeon
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The Scottish First Minister hit out at the Prime Minister’s set of measures, insisting they do not go far enough to protect the country from new Covid variants. She claimed Scotland’s raft of quarantine measures, due to come into force on Monday, were “more in line with the scientific advice”.
From next week all international arrivals in Scotland will be required to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, but below the border only those coming from “red list” countries will be subject to the same rules.
People travelling from any of the 33 red list countries to Northern Ireland and Wales will be required to quarantine in England, as neither nation has any direct international flight routes open.
The rules mean those in countries not on the red list could dodge a hotel stay in Scotland by flying into an airport in England and driving across the border.
The First Minister has said at they stand, the rules mean the 96-mile border is “leaky” and she would continue to exert pressure on the Prime Minister to change his stance.
But Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser accused Ms Sturgeon of dictating Covid rules to Mr Johnson.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think there is clearly different decisions taken in different parts of the UK to suit local requirements.
“Generally, I don’t think that Nicola Sturgeon has got the right to dictate to the other parts of the United Kingdom what quarantine rules they should be bringing in.
“It looks like it’s the tail wagging the dog.”
The National Union of Students has called on Ms Sturgeon’s Government to make an exemption for people from abroad who are studying in Scotland.
The group’s president Matt Crilly said students could not afford to fork out the £1,750 required to cover the hotel costs.
But Ms Sturgeon batted away the call, telling reporters at Thursday’s daily Covid briefing: “The more exemptions we have, the less effect these rules have.”
Mr Fraser said the SNP-led Government’s strict rules had caused anxiety among many Scots particularly due to the high cost of the mandatory hotel stay.
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He explained: “I do know there’s a lot of concern in Scotland about the travel quarantine rules that are being introduced here.
“Particularly the impact they have on people who are, for example, working in the offshore oil and gas sector who might be on a two or three week rotation, and the impact that that has, and the impact that it has on students who might be currently temporarily overseas and who need to come back and what it means for them and the cost associated with that.”
Speaking about the new travel rules on Thursday, Ms Sturgeon defended her decision saying it was “more in line with the scientific advice” than the UK Government’s set of measures.
The SNP leader insisted her approach would afford “maximum protection” to Scots.
She said: “When we’re faced with new variants, we don’t what countries the variants might already be in because not all countries do really extensive genomic sequencing.”
The First Minister said she raised the issue of quarantine rules with the leaders of the other three UK nations because the current measures make the UK borders “a bit too ‘leaky’ to protect properly against importation of this virus and new variants of it.”
She stressed she was “trying to persuade the UK Government to impose the same kind of restrictions”.
In order to prevent international travellers from entering Scotland after they have touched down in England, she suggested Scottish police could step up checks at the boundary.
But she said the best way to “avoid these vulnerabilities and these leakages” would be the implementation of the same rules across the UK..
She admitted that if she could not persuade the others to follow suit, Scotland would push ahead with its strict plan, but said it would be exposed to “back door vulnerability”.
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