Boris Johnson hit out at Nicola Sturgeon as he was challenged to condemn Holyrood proposals to institute a virtual border with England to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control in Scotland. First Minister Sturgeon signalled she would be willing to impose checks on tourists travelling to England who do not comply with current lockdown measures in place across the nation. But addressing the issue during PMQs on Wednesday, the Prime Minister issued a fiery rebuttal of the threat.
Mr Johnson said: “I must say I find the suggestion absolutely astonishing and shameful.
“There will be no such discussion with the Scottish Administration about that.
“But I will point out to my Honourable Friend, there is no such thing as a border between England and Scotland.”
Scotland and England have been managing the health crisis at different speeds as health remains a devolved issue mostly in the hands of the Scottish First Minister.
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The fiery response came after Conservative MP Andrew Bowie expressed his “anger” at the stance the Scottish Government adopted during the lockdown.
Mr Bowie said: “Does my Right Honourable Friend not share my anger and the frustration of the Scottish tourist sector, just as it’s getting back on its feet, that it’s getting its legs pulled out from under it by deeply irresponsible, damaging and divisive talk of arbitrary border closure and quarantining of visitors from the rest of the United Kingdom?”
Nicola Sturgeon said she is not “ruling anything out” when asked during Monday’s daily coronavirus press conference whether she would consider restrictions on cross-Border travel.
The statement came a day after a spike in COVID-19 cases were reported in Sunderland and Gateshead, just 50 miles from dividing line between Scotland and England.
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Scottish Finance Minister Kate Forbes told BBC’s Good Morning Scotland she had requested more financial powers for Scotland but has yet to receive a response from Westminster.
Ms Forbes said: “I last spoke to the Treasury on Friday and we went through the issues once again.
“Unfortunately it keeps getting kicked into the long grass and my hope is that at some point they will deal with the issue seriously and enable us to have those powers.”