Coronavirus in Scotland: Travel ban 'entirely within remit of Holyrood' claim Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has pushed back on claims the new law criminalising travel to and from areas with high prevalence of Covid-19 may not be lawful.

The Scottish Government's travel ban comes into legal force later today
The Scottish Government's travel ban comes into legal force later today

Yesterday, the Scottish Conservatives claimed there were “serious legal questions” to be asked about whether the regulations published by the Scottish Government were within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.

However, a Scottish Government spokesman denied the accusations and said restrictions are in place due to the fact they are "essential” and pointed to similar restrictions in Wales and the rest of the UK.

He said: “These claims are not true. The regulations are entirely within the remit of the Scottish Parliament.

“Restrictions on unnecessary travel are in place in law in various forms in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and in many parts of Europe.

“In Scotland they are necessary to underpin an approach that puts different parts of the country under different levels of protective measures.

“Travel restrictions are difficult, but essential. If people don’t abide by the travel restrictions there is a risk that the virus will spread to areas where it is less common and we may have to return to national restrictions.”

However, Scottish Labour’s transport spokesperson Colin Smyth continued his party’s attack on the new rules, calling for more scrutiny around the decision to move some guidance into law.

He said: “The chaotic scenes witnessed as people took to the roads and shops before the travel ban comes into force shows how ill-conceived this legislation is: hasty legislation will lead to a hasty reaction from the public.

“The catalogue of events that has led to another lockdown highlights the need for better scrutiny: the botched return of students to universities, the refusal to introduce testing at our airports where 168,000 people arrived in Scotland between June and November who were required to quarantine - but just 12 per cent followed up by contact tracers, and a failure to introduce widespread mass testing across the country of frontline workers.

“More and more is being asked of members of the public. The rules and laws that they are being made to follow are becoming more confusing and come as a direct result of Scottish Government incompetence, not the public’s.

"The SNP government must pause before it criminalises that confusion.”

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