Nicola Sturgeon appears to have rejected Boris Johnson’s four-nation approach to the coronavirus lockdown, after revealing details of their phone call on Thursday. She said the call yesterday afternoon with the Prime Minister confirmed “different parts of the UK may move out of lockdown measures at different speeds”. This marks the most significant split in the UK-wide approach to tackling the coronavirus yet, following days of mixed signals over the lockdown approach.
Both the Scottish and UK governments formally extended their coronavirus lockdown measures on Thursday.
However, the Prime Minister – who will make a televised address about the future on Sunday evening – has suggested some measures could start to be lifted from Monday.
During today’s press briefing, Ms Sturgeon lashed out at speculation that the UK-wide lockdown would be eased by Monday and singled out “unhelpful headlines”.
The First Minister insisted that stay at home message continues in Scotland as the UK government prepares to abandon the slogan.
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Ms Sturgeon said: “My main message is about the importance of staying at home.
“I know it will be tempting to think that this weekend, after so many weeks of lockdown, we can allow ourselves, perhaps one little slip.
“You may even think given recent unhelpful news headlines that things have already eased up, and that there’s somehow less at stake.
“I want to emphasise to you as strongly as I possibly can that that is absolutely not the case, the risk remains too high for us to ease up now.”
The news marks a significant departure from Ms Sturgeon’s remarks yesterday when she told reporters that “my preference, if possible, for all four UK nations to make changes together at the same pace”.
She said: “That certainly helps us give clear consistent messages to you the public.
“However for that approach to work, we must agree to make changes only when all four governments are satisfied we don’t risk a resurgence of the virus.
“If the Prime Minister decides that he wants to move at a faster pace for England than I consider is right for Scotland, that is his right, I will respect that and I will not criticise him for doing that.”