Nicola Sturgeon accused of ‘playground’ politics after ‘following’ England once again

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Lord Digby Jones, crossbench peer in the House of Lords, took aim at Nicola Sturgeon for criticising Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 strategy in England before implementing the same measures just weeks later in Scotland. From today in England, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers all opened their doors for the first time in more than three months – in the biggest unlocking of measures to date.

From Monday July 6 in Scotland, pubs and restaurants will be able to open in outdoor spaces.

Just 11 days after England, pubs and restaurants north of the border will be able to open inside along with hairdressers on July 15.

Two households are able to meet indoors or outside in England from today – in Scotland this takes effect on Friday July 10.

Lord Digby Jones wrote on Twitter: “So Scotland’s following England on easing lockdown (again!).

“Sturgeon is just forbidding or allowing stuff to be different to the Paymaster.

“She comes into line every time after the point has been made.

“We all used to do that; it was called the playground.”

On Friday, the Department for Transport announced air bridges would be created between England and 59 other countries to ensure travellers do not need to quarantine for two weeks.

The UK Government was unable to convince the devolved administrations to sign off on the plan before it was made public – including Ms Sturgeon who branded Westminster’s decision-making “shambolic”.

The First Minister said she wants to “maximise alignment” but added she needs time to study the Government’s proposals – saying they have regularly changed like “shifting sands”.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced countries on the list included Spain, France, Italy and Germany with restrictions lifted from July 10.

Ms Sturgeon said the list of eligible countries had repeatedly changed, including within the last 24 hours.

She added: “When so much is at stake, as it is right now, we can’t allow ourselves to be dragged along in the wake of another Government’s – to be quite frank about it – shambolic decision-making process.

“So we will take time to properly and rationally consider this before, hopefully very soon, setting out our own decision.”

At the Downing Street press briefing on Friday, Boris Johnson was quizzed on a potential loophole in the plan where people in Scotland could drive to England and fly out of the country.

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The Prime Minister acknowledged his frustration at the devolved Government of Scotland and Wales for taking action at varying paces.

Mr Johnson said: “I know that the devolved administrations in Scotland and I think also in Wales have a slightly different take on this.

“But my observation through the long weeks and months of cooperation on this is that the convoy is very much going in the same direction, maybe at slightly different speeds.

“I’m sure we’ll get there together and common sense will apply.”

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