Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said Scotland’s imposition of a travel ban to the northwest of England is “unnecessary”, accusing its government of “hypocrisy”.
It comes as Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Friday that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford will be banned from tomorrow.
Mr Burnham has 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 “contempt”.
Announcing the new policy on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said the decision was made based on areas of England emerging as coronavirus hotspots.
“Anyone travelling elsewhere in the Greater Manchester or Lancashire area, I’d ask to think carefully about whether your journey is really necessary, because we do see cases rising across that region,” the first minister said.
But fellow Scottish politicians including Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton have pointed out that there are some communities in Scotland “with transmission rates equal to that of Manchester”.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said the ban “does not make sense” and applauded Labour’s Mr 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’s straightforward arrogance to say Scottish ministers shouldn’t deign to speak to English mayors.”
He added: “This seems unnecessary to me and it would have been nice if Nicola Sturgeon had contacted us beforehand to discuss it.
“Maybe the Scottish Government should try living by the same standards it frequently accuses the UK Government of lacking?”
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, the Greater Manchester mayor went on to accuse the SNP of “double standards” and “hypocrisy”.
“That 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,” he said.
Mr Burnham added that he would be writing to Ms Sturgeon seeking financial compensation from the Scottish government for his constituents who had made plans to travel north of the border.
The ban is “completely disproportionate”, he continued.
Labour MSP Paul Sweeney also endorsed Mr Burnham’s view on social media.
“Greater Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham is right. Not only was this announcement discourteous to him and the people of Greater Manchester, the decision was made on Thursday morning – before first minister’s questions, yet Nicola Sturgeon did not inform the Scottish Parliament,” he said.
However, Scotland’s trade minister Ivan McKee said a decision had to be made quickly.
“The virus, as we know, moves very fast, decisions are made very fast and those decisions are communicated at a four nations level,” he told BBC Scotland.
“Andy Burnham… is going to write to the first minister about it, that’s absolutely fine and I’m sure there will be a conversation about how we can keep him better informed in future.”
The mayor’s comments come as Scotland recorded 1,205 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with no registered deaths.