The Mayor of Manchester has said Nicola Sturgeon treats the north of England with “contempt” after the Scottish government announced a travel ban to Manchester over rising coronavirus cases.
Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Labour’s Andy Burnham hit out at the first minister over the travel ban which is set to come into place on Monday morning, criticising her for poor communication.
“I was really disappointed on Friday that the first minister of Scotland just announced out of the blue as far as we were concerned, a travel ban, saying that people from Scotland couldn’t travel to Manchester and Salford”
“That is exactly what the SNP always accuses the Westminster government of doing, just kind of riding roughshod over people. The SNP are treating the north of England with the same contempt in just bringing that in without any consultation with us”
Asked how he felt seeing Scottish football fans partying in London, while Scots are being told not to visit Manchester, Mr Burnham said: “I just think it’s double standards. It’s as simple as that. It’s hypocrisy.”
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says the SNP's ban on travel from Scotland to Manchester is an example of "double standards and hypocrisy"
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) June 20, 2021
Rising Delta variant cases
There are already travel restrictions in place between Scotland and several parts of England including Bolton and Blackburn where there have been rising numbers of the Delta variant Covid cases. That variant was first identified in India.
“Anyone travelling elsewhere in the Greater Manchester or the Lancashire area, I’d ask you to think carefully about whether your journey is really necessary because we do see cases rising across that region” the first minister told reporters at a Friday briefing.
However critics have questioned the logic of the Manchester ban, pointing out that infection rates there are at similar levels to some Scottish cities where no current travel restrictions exist.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross also criticised Ms Sturgeon over the Manchester travel ban saying he understood the Scottish government took a decision already on Thursday morning over the restrictions, but didn’t make an announcement until the following day.
“There was 24 hours that passed before anyone in Greater Manchester knew about the decision taken by the Scottish government a day earlier.”
📺 Watch live: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon holds a press conference on #coronavirus.
Joining the First Minister is National Clinical Director, Professor Jason Leitch. https://t.co/BXfLlFbBB4
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) June 18, 2021