Andy Burnham has criticised the “double standards” of Nicola Sturgeon’s decision to impose a travel ban between Scotland and Manchester – calling the move “hypocritical”.
The First Minister of Scotland announced that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford would be prohibited from Monday (June 21).
Sturgeon said the ban was necessary due to the regions suffering from high numbers of coronavirus cases.
She stated: “I realise that for those with family or friends in Manchester or Salford, or anyone who was simply planning a visit, this is disappointing but rates of COVID are particularly high in these cities at the moment.”
But the Mayor of Greater Manchester has expressed his frustration over the decision, confirming he’d written to Sturgeon to seek “compensation for the individuals who might lose holidays and the businesses who might lose bookings.”
Speaking on Sunday (June 20), Burnham stated: “It’s hypocrisy – they’ve done to us exactly what they always complain that the UK government does to Scotland.
“Why should a couple from Salford who are double-jabbed who are about to go on a walking holiday in Scotland not be able to go? It’s completely disproportionate in my view.
“We could have come up with a different arrangement if the First Minister had been in touch with us.”
The Mayor added: “The Scottish government can’t just impose things on parts of the north of England with no discussion with us – that is simply wrong.
“They need to live by the same standards they’ve always called for from others.”
Greater Manchester is currently receiving extra support from the UK government in a bid to tackle rising infection levels – including rapid response teams, military assistance and supervised in-school testing.
But Burnham said restrictions on movement between the region and Scotland were “unnecessary”.
He later tweeted: “When the UK Government have made changes affecting Greater Manchester, they called us in advance to discuss.
“The Scottish Government gave us no such courtesy.
“Sorry but it’s straightforward arrogance to say Scottish Ministers shouldn’t deign to speak to English Mayors.”
Scottish government trade minister Ivan McKee told the BBC that Scotland had been forced to make a quick decision.
“The virus, as we know, moves very fast, decisions are made very fast and those decisions are communicated at a four-nations level,” he said.
“Andy Burnham… is 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 keep him better informed in future.”
Under Scottish government guidelines, non-essential travel between Scotland and Manchester/Salford is prohibited from today (June 21).
Featured image: BBC