Nicola Sturgeon: I won’t play constitutional politics with Coronavirus pandemic

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted she will not play constitutional politics over the Coronavirus outbreak as she rejected claims she could back closing the border between Scotland and England.

Nicola Sturgeon says she won't play politics with Coronavirus

It came as the First Minister revealed signs of encouragement in Scotland’s battle to keep COVID-19 under control with the latest figures showing new hospital cases have stabilised – with intensive care cases down by a third over the past fortnight.

The row over the border emerged after Ms Sturgeon was quizzed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show yesterday about the prospect of Scotland adopting a different lockdown exit strategy and whether she would have “the power to close the border.”

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Although Ms Sturgeon said she did not have this power, she added that “these are discussions of course we want to continue to have with the UK Government.”

It prompted a furious response from pro-union party opponents.

But the First Minister said she had been referring to the external UK border when she was quizzed on the issue in today’s daily Coronavirus briefing.

“I was actually talking about external, international UK borders and actually I made that point last Thursday when we published the paper,” she said.

“Yes there is a difference of opinion, there’s a difference in terms of evidence of how effective that would be, but like many other countries are doing, as we go back into hopefully a containment phase, that has to be part of the discussion that we have.

“These are discussions that obviously given where the devolved/reserved power split is on the this, that we continue to have to have with the UK Government.”

But she added: “I have to say, and I say this with a degree of regret, I think you would have had to really twist and exaggerate my response to that yesterday to get to some of the headlines that we see in the newspapers today.

“I make a point here that I’ve made before. My only interest right now is what we have to do to fight this virus. Anybody who is trying to use the immediate challenge we face in tackling this virus or to twist what I say in relation to some of these issue to make any kind of pre-existing political or constitutional point will not find me willing to play ball.

“This virus is still out there doing it’s damage, people are still being admitted to hospital, people are still being admitted to intensive care, people sadly are still dying.”

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