Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said Scotland’s imposition of a travel ban to the northwest of England is “unnecessary”, accusing the Scottish government of “hypocrisy.” It comes as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford will be banned from tomorrow.
Mr Burnham also accused Scottish officials of being discourteous by not contacting him to discuss the measure being imposed against his region, adding that Ms Sturgeon is treating the north of England with “sheer contempt”.
Announcing the new policy Ms Sturgeon said the decision was made based on areas of England emerging as coronavirus hotspots. She said:
“Anyone travelling elsewhere in the Greater Manchester or Lancashire area, I’d ask you to think carefully about whether your journey is really necessary, because we do see cases rising across that region.”
Fellow Scottish politicians including Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton have pointed out that there are some areas and communities in Scotland with transmission rates equal to those of Manchester. He applauded Andy Burnham for calling it out.
Sharing his frustration on social media, Mr Burnham said:
“When the UK Government have made changes affecting Greater Manchester, they called us in advance to discuss. The Scottish Government gave us no such courtesy. Sorry, but it is straightforward arrogance to say Scottish ministers shouldn’t deign to speak to English mayors.”
On the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Greater Manchester mayor went on to accuse the SNP of double standards and hypocrisy. He said:
“This is exactly what the SNP always accuse the Westminster government of doing, 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.”
Mr Burnham confirmed that he would be writing to Ms Sturgeon seeking financial compensation from the Scottish government for his constituents who had already made plans to travel between Manchester and Scotland.