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by Jack Thomson
21 June 2021
Andy Burnham accuses SNP of 'double standards' over COVID travel ban

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester (Picture: Alamy)

Andy Burnham accuses SNP of 'double standards' over COVID travel ban

Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, has accused the Scottish Government of "double standards" after it imposed travel restrictions on parts of the area. 

It was announced on Friday that non-essential travel between Scotland and Manchester and Salford would not be allowed from today, as part of measures to prevent the spread of variants of concern. 

Burnham said he would be asking for compensation for people who might lose holidays and businesses who might lose bookings after the decision. 

He said on BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: "I was really disappointed on Friday that the First Minister of Scotland just announced out of the blue - as far as we were concerned - a travel ban saying that people couldn't travel from Scotland to Manchester and Salford, and people couldn't go the other way.

"That is exactly what the SNP always accuse the Westminster government of doing - just riding roughshod over people. The SNP are treating the north of England with the same contempt in bringing that in without any consultation with us.

"I just think it's double standards. It's as simple as that. It's hypocrisy because they've done to us exactly what they always complain that the UK Government does to Scotland.

"So I'll be writing to the First Minister. I'll be asking for compensation for the individuals who might lose holidays, and the businesses who might lose bookings. 

"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 second thing I'll say to her is, we need an arrangement here. The Scottish Government can't just impose things on parts of the north of England with no discussion with us.

"That is simply wrong and they need to live by the same standards that they've always called for from others."

Nicola Sturgeon responded to the comments made by Burnham in an interview with the BBC, saying if he wants a "grown up conversation", he should pick up the phone. 

She said: "I have a duty, it's one I take very seriously, to keep Scotland as safe as possible.

"I'm sure Andy Burnham feels that same sense of duty towards people in the Greater Manchester area. I've always got on well with Andy Burnham. 

"If he wants a grown up conversation, he only has to pick up the phone, but if, as I suspect might be the case, this is more about generating a spat with me as part of some position in a Labour leadership contest of the future, then I'm not interested.

"We've all got a serious job of work to do right now and I'm serious about doing that job in a way that keeps Scotland as safe as I possibly can."

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