South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has blasted ‘xenophobic’ protesters who gathered on the A1 at the Scotland/England border to tell visitors from England that they weren’t welcome north of the border.

The group were caught on camera underneath the ‘Welcome to Scotland’ signpost, holding up banners urging visitors from England to leave. The images were then widely shared on social media.

Colin Smyth said: “I was completely appalled to see the pictures at the weekend of these xenophobes gathering on the border, holding up signs telling visitors from England that they weren’t welcome. Many of the people travelling on the A1 will be borderers who travel everyday between Scotland and England for work, shopping or leisure.

“This week pubs and restaurants in the Scottish Borders begin the long road back to recovery by opening outdoors, and in the months ahead those reliant on tourism will hopefully start to re-open. The shocking images we saw on the border will do nothing to encourage anyone to visit Scotland to support those businesses and the local jobs that rely on them.

“There was not the smallest shred of evidence to suggest that anyone driving on the A1 on Saturday was breaking any rules and the fact that the images were then widely shared, in a positive way, on social media by senior SNP politicians is disgusting.

“Scotland is an open and welcoming country and the actions of this small group reflect badly on us all.

“At her daily press conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the protesters did not speak for her or her party, but she needs to ensure that the rest of her SNP colleagues are aware that xenophobia will not be tolerated in this country.”

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