Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson have been urged to “grow-up” and co-operate during the Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland by the leaders of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour.
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said the two leaders need to “get out of their comfort zone” while Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called on the Prime Minister to avoid “constitutional jibes”.
Mr Johnson is set to meet members of the armed forces and their families as he tours the country following the Covid-19 crisis.
He will spend the time highlight economic support from the UK Treasury during the crisis, but arrives amidst “panic” in the Tory ranks about the increasing support for Scottish independence.
Mr Rennie called on the two leaders to work together rather than use the visit as an “excuse to bang the drums” for either side of the independence debate.
He said: “We are still in the grip of a global pandemic. All our lives are still under restrictions.
“Yet the two leaders, the PM and the FM, have decided just to continue their tired old argument about the constitution. They need to get out of their comfort zones and agree to work together. They both need to grow up.
“Most people in Scotland will be amazed that the two leaders are not sitting down to discuss how to keep people in Scotland safe and to build a recovery.
“It is a disgrace that instead of co-operation they are using this week as an excuse to bang the drums for their supporters on the constitution.
“We need a common strategy on economic recovery, on preparing for a second wave, on supporting our social care sector, on finding a vaccine and treatments, and so much more. Yet instead of getting round the table to find those solutions we get insults. They both need to grow up.”
Mr Leonard added Mr Johnson should use his visit to “listen and not to lecture” and repeated Rennie’s call for co-operation.
He said: “The Prime Minister must use his visit to Scotland to listen and not to lecture. He must concentrate on jobs, the economy, public health - rather than getting involved in constitutional jibes.
“Now more than ever, Scotland needs both governments to co-operate to tackle the crises which we face. We need a massive fiscal stimulus at a UK level and we need an extension of the job retention scheme.
“We need the immediate introduction of the additional £10 per child payment and we need a quality job guarantee scheme introduced right across Scotland.
“Our priorities must be securing our public health and securing jobs for good: guaranteeing jobs, creating jobs, and saving jobs like those under threat at Rolls-Royce in Inchinnan."
Co-leader of the Scottish Greens, Patrick Harvie, labelled Mr Johnson’s arrival and flag waving as “preposterous”.
He said: “The idea that those who have lost their jobs or homes as a result of this crisis might be comforted by the Prime Minister flying a union flag in Orkney is preposterous.
"People want to hear of a meaningful extension to the furlough scheme, especially for those working in insecure jobs such as hospitality. People want to hear how new sustainable jobs are going to be created to build back better after this crisis.
"People want to hear that he is going to prevent a disastrous no-deal Brexit and give Scotland a say over its future. Sadly, there is no chance he will show that kind of leadership.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.
Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.
By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.