‘Hypocrite’ Nicola Sturgeon savages Andy Burnham amid row over Scotland’s Manchester travel ban

Nicola Sturgeon tore into Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham today, accusing him of manufacturing a Covid travel row with Scotland to further his Labour leadership ambitions.

The First Minister jumped two-footed into the dispute with the metro mayor after he attacked her decision to ban travellers from the city from going north of the border.

Mr Burnham, a former Labour minister, had accused Ms Sturgeon of being a hypocrite for blocking travel while allowing thousands of Scots to descend on London for Friday’s Euro 2020 game against England. 

The Greater Manchester mayor demanded compensation for holidaymakers and businesses affected, saying extraordinary scenes with crowds of Scots supporters failing to socially distance in London showed her ‘double standards’.

But Speaking to Sky News today, Ms Sturgeon gave him both barrels, saying: ‘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 the people of the Greater Manchester area.

‘I have 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 positioning for a Labour leadership contest in the future then I’m not interested.’

However her comments led to hit back from labour, with Liverpool MP Bill Esterson saying: ‘Surely, you should have picked up the phone in the first place before announcing the travel ban? Who’s not being grown up here?’

The First Minister jumped two-footed into the dispute with the metro mayor after he attacked her decision to ban travellers from the city from going north of the border.

The First Minister jumped two-footed into the dispute with the metro mayor after he attacked her decision to ban travellers from the city from going north of the border.

The First Minister jumped two-footed into the dispute with the metro mayor after he attacked her decision to ban travellers from the city from going north of the border.

Mr Burnham, a former Labour minister, had accused Ms Sturgeon of being a hypocrite for blocking travel while allowing thousands of Scots to descend on London for Friday's Euro 2020 game against England.

Mr Burnham, a former Labour minister, had accused Ms Sturgeon of being a hypocrite for blocking travel while allowing thousands of Scots to descend on London for Friday's Euro 2020 game against England.

Mr Burnham, a former Labour minister, had accused Ms Sturgeon of being a hypocrite for blocking travel while allowing thousands of Scots to descend on London for Friday’s Euro 2020 game against England.

Mr Burnham said the extraordinary scenes with crowds of Scots supporters failing to socially distance in London on Friday night (pictured) showed 'double standards'

Mr Burnham said the extraordinary scenes with crowds of Scots supporters failing to socially distance in London on Friday night (pictured) showed 'double standards'

Mr Burnham said the extraordinary scenes with crowds of Scots supporters failing to socially distance in London on Friday night (pictured) showed ‘double standards’

Scotland’s Billy Gilmour tests positive for Covid after England game

The Euro 2020 football championships were today rocked by a coronavirus crisis after Scotland’s star midfielder Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid-19 just three days after facing England.

The 20-year-old Chelsea footballer will now be forced to self-isolate for ten days, hours after playing a major role in Scotland’s goalless draw with England at Wembley Stadium last Friday in his first start for the national team.

Gilmour was seen hugging some of his Chelsea team-mates after the match – and there could now be doubts over both Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount prior to England’s final group game against the Czech Republic tomorrow.

No other Scotland players have been affected or identified as close-contacts, meaning all will be available as they face Croatia in a winner-takes-all Group D clash at Hampden Park in Glasgow, which is also tomorrow at 8pm.

But Gilmour will play no part in the match for Scotland, who are in their first major tournament since World Cup 1998. They sit bottom of Group D with one point and need to beat Croatia to have a chance of progression.

The Scottish Football Association remained in discussions with Public Health England this morning regarding close contacts of Gilmour, but none have been identified. An SFA spokesman said: ‘The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland national team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for Covid-19.

‘Having liaised with Public Health England since the positive test was recorded, Billy will now self-isolate for 10 days and therefore miss tomorrow’s Uefa Euro 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.’

Half a dozen other teams in the tournament, which has been delayed by a year, have also suffered Covid-19 cases – and Gilmour’s positive test is the second to hit the Scotland camp since the squad met up earlier this month.

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Around 30,000 Scotland fans travelled across the border over the weekend, with dozens being arrested in London after scenes of excess across the West End, with little or no social distancing.

Ms Sturgeon only urged travelling Scotland fans to ‘please, please, please try to behave in a way that is a safe as possible’ before the match on Friday night. 

But Leicester Square was packed with supporters jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares ahead of the game.

Mr Burnham said yesterday he was ‘really disappointed’ that Mrs Sturgeon had announced the restrictions on travel with Manchester and Salford on Friday ‘out of the blue’, on top of the existing curbs affecting Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen.  

Asked about the scenes of fans ‘dancing’ in London he said: ‘I just think it is double standards, it is simple as that,’ he said. ‘It is hypocrisy.

‘I will be writing to the First Minister today. I will 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 is 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 mayor, who has made no secret of his desire to return to the top echelons of the national Labour Party to replace Keir Starmer, added: ‘The Scottish government cannot just impose things on parts of the North of England without any discussion with us. That is simply wrong.

‘They need to live by the same standards that they have always called for from others.’   

Police arrested 26 people for offences including violence, drugs, weapons, racial aggravation, assault and drunk behaviour amid the wild celebrations, after Scotland clinched a 0-0 draw at Wembley.

Before the end of the match, police cleared fans out of the area and tried to seal off the five entrances, with the William Shakespeare statue having been scaled repeatedly. 

Ms Sturgeon‘s deputy joined the attack on Mr Burnham this morning. John Swinney said that the move by the SNP government to block Mancunians from visiting was ‘justified’ by the city region’s spiking Covid case rate.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Swinney said: ‘In our judgment, the rising case numbers and the high levels of the virus in the Greater Manchester and Salford area justified the decision we took and we are taking that to try and minimise the circulation of the virus.’

The Deputy First Minister also said Mr Burnham’s call for compensation is not ‘a relevant point’ as business support is already available in England. 

John Swinney said that the move by the SNP government to block Mancunians from visiting was 'justified' by the city region's spiking Covid case rate.

John Swinney said that the move by the SNP government to block Mancunians from visiting was 'justified' by the city region's spiking Covid case rate.

John Swinney said that the move by the SNP government to block Mancunians from visiting was ‘justified’ by the city region’s spiking Covid case rate.

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

‘When questioned about the last-minute nature of the ban, he added: ‘That is something we will reflect on but we put in place very similar provisions in relation to Bolton, which is part of the Greater Manchester area, back in May, and we’ve just followed exactly the same approach in relation to this decision.’ 

He continued: ‘We have in place, in Scotland, business support that we have made available to companies to try and sustain them, there will be support in place in England for exactly the same circumstances.

‘We have got to take decisions based on the data that presents itself and sometimes that is very uncomfortable data for us.

‘We have to act quickly to try to make sure we are doing everything possible to suppress the spread of the virus, and that is what members of the public would expect of us.’     

‘I should’ve just booked Spain’: Furious holidaymakers rage at Nicola Sturgeon as they lose hundreds of pounds after she banned travel from Manchester to Scotland (but allowed the Tartan Army to invade London)

Holidaymakers have erupted in fury at Scotland’s First Minister after she banned travel from Manchester to Scotland causing many to lose hundreds of pounds in cancelled trips. 

One holiday hopeful commented that it would have been easier to travel abroad to Spain – which is currently on the government’s amber list – after they lost £338 in cancelled train tickets.  

Their outrage echoed that of Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who raged at  Nicola Sturgeon in an explosive interview for the travel ban which was announced on Friday ‘without any consultation’.

He branded the SNP leader a ‘hypocrite’ for implementing the last-minute ban after allowing tens of thousands of Scotland football fans to go to Wembley.  

Scottish fans caused havoc in London as the Tartan Army were seen failing to social distance and clambering on historical statues in the capital’s Leicester Square.

His condemnation was echoed by many disappointed holidaymakers who have had trips cancelled as a result of the new restrictions. 

One individual who had their holiday cancelled wrote: ‘Because of the new travel ban between Scotland and Manchester my holiday to Scotland has been cancelled. 

‘Luckily the hotels will refund but the £338 train tickets can’t be, it’s possible I could get a travel voucher but that could take 28 days! Should’ve just booked to go to Spain.’   

Marek Bidwell added: ‘Gutted for the thousands of Manchester folk who won’t be able to go on longed-for holidays to Scotland this summer. 

‘We’ve just booked a cottage near Oban for our 25th wedding anniversary later this year.’

He added: ‘We need to learn to live with this.’ 

But Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney defended the move and said their government had acted within the realms of what the public would expect from them.  

Furious holidaymakers lashed out at the decision after it forced them to cancel their trips - with some losing hundreds of pounds as a result of the last-minute ban

Furious holidaymakers lashed out at the decision after it forced them to cancel their trips - with some losing hundreds of pounds as a result of the last-minute ban

Furious holidaymakers lashed out at the decision after it forced them to cancel their trips – with some losing hundreds of pounds as a result of the last-minute ban 

He told the Today programme: ‘We have got to take decisions based on the data and the evidence that presents itself, and take decisions which are designed to stop the spread of the virus.

‘In our judgment, the rising case numbers and the high levels of the virus in the Greater Manchester and Salford area justified the decision we took and we are taking that to try and minimise the circulation of the virus.’

The Scottish First Minister announced on Friday that residents from Greater Manchester and Salford have been temporarily banned from travelling to Scotland and vice versa. 

People from North Wales and other parts of England with higher Covid numbers were also included in the travel ban.  

When questioned about the last-minute nature of the ban, he added: ‘That is something we will reflect on but we put in place very similar provisions in relation to Bolton, which is part of the Greater Manchester area, back in May, and we’ve just followed exactly the same approach in relation to this decision.’

The move prompted Greater Manchester mayor to demand compensation for holidaymakers and businesses affected by Sturgeon’s coronavirus travel restrictions. 

The Scottish First Minister announced on Friday that residents from Greater Manchester and Salford have been temporarily banned from travelling to Scotland and vice versa

The Scottish First Minister announced on Friday that residents from Greater Manchester and Salford have been temporarily banned from travelling to Scotland and vice versa

The Scottish First Minister announced on Friday that residents from Greater Manchester and Salford have been temporarily banned from travelling to Scotland and vice versa

It prompted outrage online with many echoing the frustration of the Greater Manchester Mayor

It prompted outrage online with many echoing the frustration of the Greater Manchester Mayor

It prompted outrage online with many echoing the frustration of the Greater Manchester Mayor

One individual even accused Nicola Sturgeon of 'double standards' in an angry post online

One individual even accused Nicola Sturgeon of 'double standards' in an angry post online

One individual even accused Nicola Sturgeon of ‘double standards’ in an angry post online

Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney defended the move and said their government had acted within the realms of what the public would expect from them

Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney defended the move and said their government had acted within the realms of what the public would expect from them

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney defended the move and said their government had acted within the realms of what the public would expect from them

But Mr Swinney slammed Mr Burnham’s call for compensation, saying it is not ‘a relevant point’.

‘We obviously face many challenges in the suppression of coronavirus,’ Mr Swinney told the BBC’s Today programme.

‘We have in place, in Scotland, business support that we have made available to companies to try and sustain them, there will be support in place in England for exactly the same circumstances.

‘We have got to take decisions based on the data that presents itself and sometimes that is very uncomfortable data for us.

‘We have to act quickly to try to make sure we are doing everything possible to suppress the spread of the virus, and that is what members of the public would expect of us.’

Mr Burnham’s outburst came after tens of thousands of Scotland football fans were allowed to go to Wembley for the Euros football match. 

And he said the extraordinary scenes with crowds of Scots supporters failing to socially distance in London on Friday night showed Sturgeon’s ‘double standards’.

Around 30,000 Scotland fans travelled across the border over the weekend, with dozens being arrested. 

Barrie Russ branded it ‘double standards’ in a scathing post on social media. 

He wrote: ‘To Nicola Sturgeon, you have DOUBLE STANDARDS, allowing 120,000 Scots to invade London for a football match, then say people cannot travel from North Wales, Manchester and Norther (sic) England to Scotland, for a holiday.’

The brutal condemnation came after Mr Burham said there were ‘encouraging’ signs that the North West might be past the peak of the outbreak triggered by the Indian – or Delta – variant.

Mr Burnham said he was ‘really disappointed’ that Mrs Sturgeon had announced the restrictions on travel with Manchester and Salford on Friday ‘out of the blue’, on top of the existing curbs affecting Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen. 

Asked about the scenes of fans ‘dancing’ in London he said: ‘I just think it is double standards, it is simple as that,’ he said. ‘It is hypocrisy.

‘I will be writing to the First Minister today. I will 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 is completely disproportionate in my view. We could have come up with a different arrangement if the First Minister had been in touch with us.’

He added: ‘The Scottish government cannot just impose things on parts of the North of England without any discussion with us. That is simply wrong.

‘They need to live by the same standards that they have always called for from others.’  

Ms Sturgeon only urged travelling Scotland fans to ‘please, please, please try to behave in a way that is a safe as possible’ before the match on Friday night.  

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

Pictures captured Leicester Square packed with Scotland fans jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares after the England v Scotland game ended in a 0-0 draw last night

But Leicester Square was packed with supporters jubilantly singing, chanting and letting off flares ahead of the game.

As many as 30,000 people are thought to have made the trip to London over the weekend.

Police arrested 26 people for offences including violence, drugs, weapons, racial aggravation, assault and drunk behaviour amid the wild celebrations, after Scotland clinched a 0-0 draw at Wembley.

Before the end of the match, police cleared fans out of the area and tried to seal off the five entrances, with the William Shakespeare statue having been scaled repeatedly. 

Mr Burnham was asked if the North West might be ‘past the peak’ of the Delta variant.

He said: ‘I certainly see a huge amount of work going on in our communities to contain the Delta variant.

‘Look at Bolton – you can see real encouragement there. Where the work went in, the case numbers have been turned around and they’ve got now quite a significant decrease.

‘I’m very sure that we’ll see the same in the rest of Greater Manchester.

‘So, I think we are coming through this. I think we now need to be careful and proportionate in terms of the way we manage things going forward.’

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