Sturgeon savaged for ‘nationalist politics’

NICOLA Sturgeon was savaged on Thursday night for playing “nationalist politics” instead of seeking UK-wide unity in the battle against coronavirus.

Scotlands First Minister provoked anger as she unveiled her own road map out of lockdown which greatly differs from Boris Johnsons plans.

Under Ms Sturgeons plans, households will be allowed to mix in “small numbers” in their gardens from next week.

The move is wildly different from the rules in England, where you can only mix with one person from another household, and suggests people will be free to have friends and family round for barbecues.

Outdoor exercise and some sports will be permitted, with people allowed to sit in parks and sunbathe, she said.

However, schools in Scotland will not start reopening until at least August 11 – after the summer break north of the border.

Scotland is the last of the four parts of the UK to publish specific plans on easing the lockdown.

Boris Johnson, did so on 10 May, with Wales and Northern Ireland already allowing outdoor sports, recycling centres and garden centres to restart.

Schools in England are also set to reopen from the beginning of next month under Mr Johnsons own plans.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said that the Scottish leader was using the crisis to make life awkward for the Prime Minister.

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon seems intent on having a different policy to Boris Johnson.

“While she is playing her nationalist politics, she would do well to remember that this is about peoples lives and all politicians will ultimately be judged on how they have handled this pandemic.

“She appears willing to sacrifice the Scottish people on the altar of nationalism.”

Downing Street said Scotlands announcement was a vindication of the Prime Ministers roadmap.

The prime ministers official spokesman said: “We welcome todays announcement as it shows the UK-wide approach is working.

“We set out the roadmap a few weeks ago and now the devolved administrations are following that path at the right speed for them.”

Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory leader, said Ms Sturgeons statement raised a series of questions about how it would work in practice.

“Scotland is already on the move,” he said.

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that the threat of a second wave is “very real”, but said she believed the crucial R virus reproduction rate had been below one for three weeks, even though it was slightly higher in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.

She said people will now be allowed to travel – preferably by walking or cycling – to a location near their local community for recreation.

She said: “Waste and recycling services will resume, as will many outdoor businesses, such as agriculture and forestry.

“The construction industry will be able to carefully implement steps one and two of its six-step restart plan which it has developed with us.

“However, let me be clear that there must be genuine partnership with trade unions – this can only be done if it is done safely.”

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