Colin Smyth
Colin Smyth

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has demanded the Scottish Government use the same criteria to determine both cross border and cross Scotland travel rules.

The local MSP took the opportunity to raise cross border travel issues with the First Minister during her final Covid-19 update before the Scottish Parliament dissolves before the upcoming election.

The Scottish Government’s recent Strategic Framework states in the timetable for easing coronavirus restrictions that “travel within mainland Scotland allowed” from 26 April- but gives no details on if, and when, cross border travel will resume.

Speaking in the parliament, Colin Smyth said: “The Scottish Government’s strategic framework is silent on the important issue for my South Scotland constituents of cross border travel in its timetable for easing restrictions, as was the First Minister today.

“So can the First Minister give my border constituents an assurance that the criteria she will use to decide whether cross border travel can resume from 26 April will be the same criteria she has been using to determine whether cross Scotland travel is likely to be allowed from that date.

“There would be understandable anger if politicians are allowed to travel the length of Scotland next month for an election, if families in Gretna can’t travel a mile to visit their loved ones in Cumbria, even outside – without very good reason.”

Speaking after the question session, Colin Smyth added: “Everyone understands why minimising travel has been important during the past few months but I want an assurance that the same criteria is used for the easing of both cross Scotland and cross border travel restrictions.

“This is a big issue for my border constituents, many of whom have family and friends living just a few miles away in England but whom they haven’t been able to see as visits of this kind have not been classed as an essential journey. All local people are asking is to be treated fairly and not have one rule for border communities and another for those in other parts of Scotland.”

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