Boris Johnson reported to police over 'non essential' visit to Scotland

The Prime Minister was accused of breaking coronavirus restrictions and reported to the authorities for visiting Scotland today.

Police Scotland said it had received a ‘small number’ of complaints about Boris Johnson’s trip north of the border.

Yesterday First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggested the PM’s visit was ‘non-essential’, adding that she was ‘not ecstatic’ about the thought of him visiting in the midst of a pandemic.

But police said Johnson’s trip was a ‘working visit in his official capacity as Prime Minister’ of the United Kingdom, and that officers were ‘policing the event appropriately’.

During his visit Johnson tried to make the case for working together as a Union, as calls for a second Scottish independence referendum grow.

Separatists have been given a boost as polls have suggested Sturgeon is seen as handling the pandemic much more competently.

A series of surveys have put support for breaking up the union at 57%, with separatists demanding a new referendum as early as this year, threatening to hold a ‘wildcat’ vote if the PM does not give his blessing.

Johnson donned PPE during a visit earlier today to the Lighthouse Laboratory at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus in Glasgow, where coronavirus tests are processed.

He then met troops setting up a vaccination centre in the Castlemilk area of the city, bumping elbows to greet some of the soldiers.

The Prime Minister also visited the Valneva laboratory in Livingston, West Lothian, where experts are working on a coronavirus vaccine.

When asked by reporters about the prospect of Scottish independence, Johnson suggested people should focus on ‘the issues that really matter’.

He added: ‘I think jobs, the educational performance of the Scottish national government I don’t believe has been brilliant, their performance on fighting crime, on drugs – those are the things that I think people need to focus on.

‘But, above all, on fighting this pandemic and coming back more strongly together.

‘I have to say I think endless talk about a referendum, without any clear description of what the constitutional situation would be after that referendum, is completely irrelevant now to the concerns of most people who, I think, want us to beat this pandemic and come through it strongly together.’

He told reporters that ‘the very same people’ who wanted independence ‘also said only a few years ago, in 2014, that this was a once-in-a-generation event’.

Asked if he would boycott a referendum held without the UK Government’s consent, Johnson dodged the question, saying: ‘My focus is on defeating the pandemic.’

He added that ‘we don’t actually know what that referendum would set out to achieve, we don’t know what the point of it would be – what happens to the army, what happens to the crown, what happens to the pound, what happens to the Foreign Office … nobody will tell us what it’s all meant to be about’.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer backed the Prime Minister’s visit, insisting he had a right to see what was happening in all parts of the UK.

Concerns have been raised that Johnson may not be the best figure to champion the Union, with polls suggesting support has risen amid a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and of Brexit – a campaign the Prime Minister fronted, while Scotland backed remaining in the EU.

SNP deputy leader Keith Brown said the Prime Minister’s trip is evidence that he is in a ‘panic’ about the prospect of another referendum.

The MSP said: ‘Clearly, Boris Johnson is rattled. By branding this campaign trip as ‘essential’, this is clearly a Prime Minister in panic, who knows the Tories are losing the argument on independence.

‘Twenty polls in a row have shown that a majority of voters believe Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands – not Boris Johnson’s.’

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