Boris Johnson: Scottish border quarantine ‘highly irresponsible’

A war of words has erupted between the Scottish and UK Governments over suggestions Scotland could impose a quarantine on visitors from the rest of the UK, with Boris Johnson attacking Nicola Sturgeon’s comments as “highly irresponsible”.
Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of CommonsBoris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons
Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Johnson said he was strongly opposed to any quarantine within the UK, and insisted: “There is no such thing as a border between Scotland and England”.

Earlier, the Scottish Secretary Alister Jack told MPs that talk of a quarantine if coronavirus infection rates in England remain higher than in Scotland was harming the Scottish tourism industry.

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And Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said that “Nicola Sturgeon’s refusal to rule out a quarantine of those from elsewhere in the UK is bringing more worrying uncertainty to an industry on its knees”.

The First Minister hit back, tweeting that “what is “reckless’ is trying to turn a public health battle against a deadly and dangerous virus into a political/constitutional argument”.

Earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon did not rule out asking those travelling to Scotland from the rest of the UK to quarantine for two weeks if scientific advice justified it.

She pointed to the example of the United States, where states that have brought down their infection rates have imposed a quarantine on arrivals from parts of the country where Covid-19 cases are rising rapidly.

At PMQs, Mr Johnson was asked by Aberdeenshire Tory MP Andrew Bowie if he shared the “anger and frustration of the Scottish tourist sector just as its getting back on its feet that it’s having the legs pulled out from under it by deeply irresponsible, damaging and divisive talk of arbitrary border closures and quarantining of visitors from the rest of the UK”.

The Prime Minister replied: “I must say I find the suggestion absolutely astonishing and shameful. There will be no such discussions with the Scottish administration about that.”

The Scottish Government also has yet to confirm whether it will follow the UK Government in lifting quarantine requirements on foreign visitors.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is expected to announce the first ‘air bridges’ between the UK and countries with low infection rates on Thursday, paving the way for tourists to avoid quarantine on entry.

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