Nicola Sturgeon has said Boris Johnson is welcome in Scotland any time, but has questioned his plans to travel north of the border during a global pandemic.
The Prime Minister is expected to arrive in Scotland on Thursday and will reportedly use the trip to make an impassioned plea on behalf of the union to urge Scots to reject separatism.
Current regulations in Scotland state that people should not cross the border unless it is an essential journey. Travel for work is allowed, but only where that “cannot be done from your home”.
Speaking at the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 briefing on Wednesday, Sturgeon said Johnson would always be welcome in Scotland but joked that Donald Trump wouldn’t.
The First Minister said: “I am not and never would be saying that Boris Johnson is not welcome in Scotland. He is the Prime Minister of the UK.
“But beyond that, everybody is welcome in Scotland. Well, maybe not a certain ex-president that I kind of suggested earlier on maybe rather didn’t come to Scotland, but I won’t divert down that road.
“Boris Johnson is not unwelcome in Scotland, even if I had the ability to stop him.”
Sturgeon highlighted that both she and the Prime Minister continually reiterate to the public not to travel unless it is essential and to work from home where possible.
The First Minister stated they have to be in work, but they “don’t have to travel across the UK as part of that”.
Questioning Johnson’s trip, Sturgeon said: “Is that really essential right now, because we have a duty to lead by example.
“And if we are going to suggest that we don’t take these rules as seriously as we should, it gets harder to convince other people.
“So that’s why I perhaps am not ecstatic about the thought of the Prime Minister visiting.”
The First Minister stressed it was important to follow the rules and called on Johnson to lead by example.
She said: “None of us are infallible as I’ve demonstrated, but we’ve all got a duty to lead by example here.”