Great Britain

Shut it Sturgeon! Boris to DEFY First Minister and visit Scotland amid independence row

Nicola Sturgeon: Tougher travel restrictions are ‘essential’

The First Minister’s comments come as the Prime Minister is expected to travel to Scotland tomorrow in a bid to fight off increasing calls for independence from the UK. A spokesman for Mr Johnson defended the upcoming trip, claiming it is his “fundamental role” to be “physically representative” of the Government, according to reports.

Downing Street is facing concerns about Scotland’s potential to leave the UK amid Ms Sturgeon’s threats to hold an advisory referendum on the matter if her Scottish National Party wins this year’s elections in the country – which it is projected to do.

Tomorrow Mr Johnson is expected to argue the UK would be stronger if it worked together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister said, ahead of the trip: “The great benefits of cooperation across the whole of the UK have never been clearer than since the beginning of this pandemic.”

Nicola Sturgeon speaking

Nicola Sturgeon said Mr Johnson's trip would not be 'essential' (Image: Fraser Bremner / Pool / Getty)

He added the Scottish Government had been given £8.6 billion in public services support while the UK Armed Forces are “helping to establish 80 new vaccine centres across Scotland”.

However, in her daily Covid-19 briefing, Ms Sturgeon criticised Mr Johnson’s planned trip by stating national leaders should be expected to follow the same travel restrictions as everyone else.

She said: “If I'm standing here every day saying to all of you watching: 'don't leave your house unless it is essential', I have a duty to subject myself to that same discipline and decision-making.

READ: Boris Johnson faces legal challenge over UK's covid death toll - 'We need accountability'

Gordon Brown speaking

Gordon Brown warned the UK could become a 'failed state' if action to support the union is not taken (Image: Duncan McGlynn / Getty)

“I would say me travelling from Edinburgh to Aberdeen to visit a vaccine centre is not essential - Boris Johnson travelling from London to wherever in Scotland to do the same is not essential.”

In addition, SNP MP Neale Hanvey described Mr Johnson’s attempt to push back against Scottish independence as “futile”.

This week, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged Mr Johnson to act on independence movements or risk the UK becoming a “failed state”.

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Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson is aiming to push back against rising Scottish nationalist sentiment (Image: Geoff Pugh / WPA Pool / Getty)

UK coronavirus statistics map

UK coronavirus statistics map (Image: EXPRESS)

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Brown said Mr Johnson should set up a commission to reform how the UK is governed.

He said this commission would “discover that the United Kingdom urgently needs a forum of the nations and regions that brings them and Boris Johnson together on a regular basis”.

He cited the British military and the NHS as two things the Prime Minister should promote as examples of the “benefits” of remaining in the UK.

Scotland independence rally

Ms Sturgeon's SNP is aiming to hold an advisory referendum this year (Image: Jeff J Mitchell / Getty)

A Sunday Times poll conducted last week showed 49 percent of Scots would support independence compared to 44 percent against and 7 percent who did not know.

At the same time 51 percent of Northern Ireland voters said they would like to hold a referendum in their own country within the next five years compared to 44 percent against.

The poll collated the results of other polls which each surveyed between 1,059 and 2,392 people.

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