Sturgeon and Burnham in war of words over Covid travel ban

The FM said Burnham was seeking to 'generate a spat' in order to position himself in a future Labour leadership contest.

STV News

Nicola Sturgeon and Andy Burnham are engaged in a war of words over the Scottish Government’s decision to impose a Covid-19 travel ban on parts of north west England.

The Greater Manchester mayor continued his criticism of the restrictions, saying he felt people in his region had been “insulted” by the First Minister’s approach and a lack of consultation.

The First Minister defended her decision and suggested Burnham was seeking to “generate a spat” with her in order to position himself in a future Labour leadership contest.

On Friday, Sturgeon said that all non-essential travel from Manchester and Salford would be banned due to rising coronavirus cases.

ADVERT

This prompted anger from Burnham at the weekend, who said the move was disproportionate and should have been communicated to his administration beforehand.

The First Minister was asked about Burnham’s reaction on BBC News on Monday. She said: “These are public health measures.

“I have a duty, and it’s one I take very seriously, to keep Scotland as safe as possible.

“I’m sure Andy Burnham feels the same sense of duty toward people in the Greater Manchester area.

ADVERT

“I’ve always got on well with Andy Burnham and if he wants to have a grown-up conversation he only has to pick up the phone.

“But if, as I suspect might be the case, this is more about generating a spat with me as part of some positioning in a Labour leadership contest in future, then I’m not interested.

“We’ve all got a serious job of work to do right now and I’m serious about doing that job in a way that keeps Scotland as safe as I possibly can.”

Earlier, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, also defended the decision to impose a travel ban.

Swinney also said Burnham’s call for compensation is not “a relevant point”.

He told the Today programme: “We have in place, in Scotland, business support that we have made available to companies to try and sustain them, there will be support in place in England for exactly the same circumstances.

“We have got to take decisions based on the data that presents itself and sometimes that is very uncomfortable data for us.

ADVERT

“We have to act quickly to try to make sure we are doing everything possible to suppress the spread of the virus, and that is what members of the public would expect of us.”

Burnham responded to the First Minister’s comments later on Monday, saying he would be writing to her asking for compensation for people affected by the ban.

He said: “I find that insulting, not for me, but for people here who are directly affected by what she announced.

“It’s not just the direct impact on Greater Manchester, it’s on our reputation as a city.

“If the First Minister of a country stands up at a press conference and announces that the UK’s second city is going under a travel ban, it has an impact.

“People elsewhere in Europe, around the world, hear that. So it’s not like it’s just a sort of more localised thing between us and Scotland, it has an impact on our city region.

“I don’t think we’ve been treated with the respect we deserve and I’m talking mainly there of the people of Greater Manchester, not myself.”

He continued: “It’s had an impact with people with holiday cottages booked, people who are having to go for work reasons.

“So to suggest, as the First Minister has done today, ‘Oh, this is all about politics and posturing’, well say that to them, say that to those people.

“Why is Bolton under a travel ban today, when it has a case rate that is quite a lot lower than Dundee? How is that fair?”

Later, Burnham published his letter to Sturgeon on his Twitter feed. It asked her to clarify the criteria for the ban, as Bolton has a Covid-19 case rate of 269 per 100,000, while Dundee has a rate of 318, similar to the rate in Salford and Manchester.

He also asked for compensation for those affected, quoting an email from a local resident who has lost £1000, which read: “My husband and I have been virtually isolated for 18 months. Both fully vaccinated. Test ourselves twice a week. Never had a positive result. But the cottage won’t let us cancel as my daughter booked it and she is allowed to travel.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman was also asked about the travel ban on Monday.

He said: “Health is a devolved matter. It is for the Scottish Government to explain that decision.”

Westminster Watch: The Burnham Barny

By STV News’ Westminster Correspondent Kathryn Samson

Andy Burnham is angry Nicola Sturgeon didn’t pick up the phone first. 

The First Minister accuses him of picking a fight while positioning himself as future Labour leader. 

Boris Johnson is refusing to pick sides. 

Number 10 was trying to steer clear of the cross border clash over the Manchester travel ban at a lobby briefing for journalists this afternoon: ”That is a matter for the Scottish Government to take decisions like that.’

”It is for the Scottish Government to explain that decision.” 

As the first Prime Minister to take on the title ‘minister for the union’, you might have expected a stronger response. 

If the First Minister decides in future that Scots can not make non – essential trips to a part of England represented by a Conservative mayor, perhaps we might get one?

The row also represents a new dynamic in devolution. The First Minister is used to positioning herself against a Conservative government at Westminster. 

Andy Burnham, hailed by some as ‘King of the North’, is a credible opponent from the left who says he’s standing up for his region by calling out double standards. 

The First Minister made her Manchester announcement on Friday. the same day that an estimated 20,000 Scottish football fans crossed the border to travel to London.

The result of that Scotland v England match was another topic Number 10 wasn’t prepared to pick sides on: 

‘The Prime Minister has said before he wants all teams from across the UK to progress as far as possible.’


Campaigners march in Glasgow calling for venues to reopen

Hundreds attended a march, organised by activist group Communities Unite Against Closures, in the city centre on Saturday afternoon.

STV News

Campaigners have taken to the streets of Glasgow to urge the reopening of ‘vital’ public services in the city.

Hundreds attended a march, organised by activist group Communities Unite Against Closures, in the city centre on Saturday afternoon.

They are calling for services, including libraries, museums and sports facilities, to be reopened to the community, with several facing threat of indefinite closure.

Banners saying Save Whiteinch Library, Don’t Axe Our Venues and Friends of People’s Palace could be seen among others at the march that started at Cathedral Square and walked from the closed St Mungo Museum to the People’s Palace. 

ADVERT

A spokesperson for CUAC said the city’s heritage has been “ravaged”.

A statement posted on the event’s Facebook page said: “These services are not a luxury, they are at the heart of any cohesive community.

“Our community assets should not be regarded as a cost to the public purse but an investment in the health and wellbeing of our community for generations to come.”

Glasgow Life say its ability to open more venues is “entirely dependent on more funding becoming available” from the city council.

ADVERT

A spokesperson for Glasgow Life said: “The £100m funding guarantee we received from Glasgow City Council in March has been fully allocated, reopening more than 90 venues across the city in the wake of the global pandemic.

“In May, Glasgow City Council passed a motion resolving that all Glasgow Life venues should reopen as soon as funding and Scottish Government guidance allows but Glasgow Life’s ability to open more venues is entirely dependent on more funding becoming available.

“Unions have been kept up to date with plans for reopening over the last year and the ongoing impact the pandemic would have on Glasgow Life and assessments of the possible impact were published and widely reported in March this year.

“We recognise the strength of feeling there is about venues without reopening dates and, continue to make the case for further income which would allow us to open more.”


Coronavirus: Nine more deaths and 1018 fresh cases reported

A total of 445 people were in hospital on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19.

Luza studios via IStock
Covid-19: The fight to stem the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

A further nine deaths and 1018 new cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Scotland overnight, according to official figures.

The daily test positivity rate is 4.9%, down from the 6.2% reported on Friday.

Of the new cases reported on Saturday, 236 are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region, 192 are in Lothian, 174 are in Lanarkshire, and 82 are in Fife.

The rest of the cases are spread out across nine other health board areas.

ADVERT

A total of 445 people were in hospital on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19, 29 fewer than the day before. Out of those, 64 patients are in intensive care.

The lab-confirmed death toll of those who tested positive within the previous 28 days currently stands at 7939, however figures including suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is now at least 10,324.

It was also confirmed that 4,009,611 Scots have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, an increase of 2034 from the day before.

A total of 3,180,160 people have received their second dose, a rise of 17,498.


PM and wife expecting second child after ‘heartbreaking’ miscarriage

Carrie Johnson revealed the news on her Instagram page on Saturday.

Rob Pinney via Getty Images
Couple: Boris and Carrie Johnson expecting second child together.

Boris Johnson’s wife Carrie has announced that the couple are expecting another child.

The 33-year-old revealed the news on an Instagram post on Saturday.

In a caption beside a toy pram she said she feels “incredibly blessed to be pregnant again” but has also felt “like a bag of nerves”.

It comes just months after she suffered a miscarriage, something that she also revealed in the message posted to her private account.

ADVERT

Ms Johnson said the loss of her unborn child earlier this year had left her “heartbroken”.

The couple, who already have a one-year-old son together, are expecting the new born to arrive by the end of the year.

She said: “Hoping for our rainbow baby this Christmas.

“At the beginning of the year, I had a miscarriage which left me heartbroken.

ADVERT

“I feel incredibly blessed to be pregnant again but I’ve also felt like a bag of nerves.

“Fertility issues can be really hard for many people, particularly when on platforms like Instagram it can look like everything is only ever going well.

“I found it a real comfort to hear from people who had also experienced loss so I hope that in some very small way sharing this might help others too.”

Boris and Carrie Johnson, formerly Symonds, married two months ago in a secret ceremony at Westminster Cathedral.

More on:

Admin assistant ‘has spent £500,000’ embezzled from college

Afsha Rana, 34, purchased electronic devices using City of Glasgow College bank accounts before selling them on.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group
City of Glasgow College: Afsha Rana, 34, embezzled £500,000.

A shamed college admin assistant who embezzled £500,000 has told a court that she has spent all the money.

Afsha Rana, 34, purchased electronic devices using City of Glasgow College bank accounts before selling them on for personal profit.

Rana doctored spreadsheets and changed purchase order information to carry out the scheme between March 2015 and April 2019.

Rana was also spotted on the college’s CCTV leaving with some of her loot in a suitcase.

ADVERT

It was claimed by her lawyer that she gave all the cash to friends.

On Friday, the first offender pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to embezzlement.

The court heard Rana was employed as an operations admin assistant in the IT department in March 2015.

Prosecutor Alasdair Knox said: “Rana acted in a deliberate manner to defraud her employer by ordering IT equipment.

ADVERT

“She used deceptive measures to conceal this and thereafter sell the equipment for her personal profit.

“In a position trust, she ordered and took possession of 334 computing devices which cannot be accounted for in the college.

“The total value of equipment which is unaccounted for is £500,000 and the college have paid their suppliers for these items.

“During this period, she sold 176 devices to Cash Converters in Glasgow and received payment of £255,200.

“Additional devices were sold to other retailers for Rana’s personal profit.”

The offences came to light following an IT report which highlighted unusual purchases by the college.

Staff became suspicious as Rana had changed information on purchase orders and some had been deleted from the system which sparked an investigation.

ADVERT

Officers were told by staff at Cash Convertors that Rana was a known customer of theirs.

They stated Rana told them the equipment had come from her brother who had purchased laptops in Dubai and refurbished them.

Checks has been carried out on the devices to verify they had not been stolen.

Mr Knox added: “There is CCTV footage of Rana leaving on workdays with a large suitcase which would be unusual for a normal day at work.

“There is additional CCTV footage of Rana leaving the college in possession of a bag containing Apple products.”

Police raided Rana’s home and recovered a Mac laptop, an iPad and other computer equipment.

The college ran software to notify users of the stolen laptops that they belonged to them.

Police were contacted by numerous people across the country to say they had purchased the devices on Amazon from an account run by Cash Convertors.

Mr Knox said: “She made cash deposits of £83,597 into her bank account during the period she was selling the stolen devices for cash at Cash Convertors.

“She transferred the money to other bank accounts held in her name between November 2016 and December 2019.

“The money had been transferred to accounts in Rana’s name.”

Rana was suspended from her employment in April 2019, which has since been terminated.

John Kilcoyne, defending, told the court that Rana recently quit her latest job as a data input clerk.

The lawyer added: “She squandered all the money and gave it to friends, it’s all away.

“She said there is a man in London that she doesn’t want her family to know about, she doesn’t have the money. She appears to have spent it.”

Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports by Sheriff Tony Kelly, who remanded Rana in custody meantime.


Scot Kathleen Dawson helps Team GB win gold medal at Olympics

The quartet set a world record time in a gripping final of the inaugural mixed 4×100m medley relay.

PA Images via PA Media
Champs: Great Britain's Kathleen Dawson, Adam Peaty, James Guy and Anna Hopkin with their gold medals.

Scotland’s Kathleen Dawson has helped Team GB secure gold in the 4x100m mixed relay at the Olympic Games.

Adam Peaty later revealed Great Britain’s resurgence in the pool is down to tireless commitment behind the scenes after the team equalled their best-ever swimming medal haul at an Olympics.

Peaty and James Guy bagged their second golds of Tokyo 2020 and Dawson and Anna Hopkin their first, as the Team GB quartet set a world record time in a gripping final of the inaugural mixed 4×100m medley relay.

Britain were therefore left celebrating their fourth gold of these Games, to go with two silvers and one bronze, matching the exact haul they achieved 113 years ago in London, and there is the prospect of more to come on Sunday.

ADVERT

Their achievements represent a massive turnaround from when British Swimming’s funding was slashed after a failure to win a race at London 2012, and Peaty insisted assiduity and diligence has been at the core of their revival.

“I hope this team and the rest of British Swimming get the recognition and the respect that they deserve because it’s been f*****g hard,” said Peaty, who retained his men’s 100m breaststroke title earlier this week.

“It’s the only way to get the emotion across. Honestly people don’t understand how hard it is. Hopefully people back home can understand that.

“I’ve been doing this for seven years since 2014 and I didn’t think the team would be where they are today. You’ve got such amazing talent. It’s just incredible to be part of that and hopefully people back home are pretty pumped.”

ADVERT

Peaty will be eyeing a fourth Olympic gold and third in Japan this week in the men’s 4x100m medley relay final on Sunday, but he feared the worst on Saturday morning after thinking Guy had jumped in too early at their handover.

Britain jumped from sixth to fourth at the halfway stage after Peaty’s incredible breaststroke split of 56.78 seconds before Guy catapulted them to top spot with an equally astonishing time of exactly 50secs in the butterfly.

But Guy himself worried he had set off a fraction earlier and did not allow himself to get carried away with the celebrations until he knew he would not get disqualified.

“I was just panicking and panicking. I thought I went early. I was like ‘oh no’,” said Guy, with Peaty adding: “I saw his feet leave and I was like ‘you f*****g idiot’.”

Guy added: “As soon as I dived in I’m thinking ‘I’ve gone too early, I’ve screwed it up, I’m going to get a DQ, but you know, it’s too late now, just go for it’. Afterwards I was just waiting and just saying ‘please, please, please, please’.”

This event has been added to the Olympics schedule for the first time – where two males and two females must be selected but the nation can use any combination in the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle splits.

Dawson, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, did not get off to an auspicious starts after slipping in her push off the wall in a leg where she was up against four males, including the 100m and 200m backstroke winner Evgeny Rylov of the Russian Olympic Committee.

ADVERT

“I had a little bit of an issue,” said the Scot. “I couldn’t quite feel my hands. Somehow I slipped going in.

“I wasn’t quite sure what I did when I did it. I think I managed to keep calm and after that it was about focusing to try and get the best performance I could out of myself.”

Britain were six seconds off the pace when Peaty dove in but the 26-year-old from Uttoxeter and Guy helped their nation into a lead of six tenths of a second as Hopkin anchored their race in the freestyle.

Hopkin came into the race knowing she would go head-to-head against the men’s 100m freestyle champion Caeleb Dressel but the American was well back as Britain touched out in three minutes and 37.58 seconds.

“It’s pretty cool to say I’ve beaten Caeleb Dressel,” joked Hopkin.

“To know that he was coming for me, it’s a little bit intimidating. But I knew that the guys ahead of me would get me a good lead.

“And then it was just about me focusing on my own race and keeping my head down, not worrying about where he was. Because that would just distract me, and stay focused on my lane and bring it home for the guys.”

China took silver, finishing 1.28 seconds behind the winners, while Australia collected bronze as the United States settled for fifth.

Elsewhere, Ben Proud qualified for the men’s 50m freestyle final on Sunday, the final day of swimming at the Games.

Commenting on Dawson’s win, Mike Whittingham, director of high performance at sportscotland, said: “Team GB’s performances in the pool at the Tokyo Games have been nothing short of incredible and to see Scottish swimmers at the heart of that success is fantastic.

“Huge congratulations to Kathleen on a well-deserved gold medal and also to her coach, her support team and everyone at Scottish Swimming.

“They have all worked so hard for this moment, which highlights the strength of the sport at all levels here in Scotland. But today is all about Kathleen, she deserves all the plaudits and praise coming her way.”  


Fans ‘excited’ to get into Ibrox as Rangers win Premiership opener

Rangers have kickstarted their Scottish Premiership title defence with a 3-0 victory over Livingston.

STV News

Rangers have kickstarted their Scottish Premiership title defence with a 3-0 victory over Livingston.

Ianis Hagi scored the opener from an eighth-minute free-kick into the box. However, the Romanian departed before half-time after being injured in a foul by Adam Lewis.

The Light Blues went on to seal their win with goals from substitutes Scott Wright and Kemar Roofe in the final 12 minutes as the champions made it 20 consecutive home wins in the league.

Ahead of the game, fans said they were delighted to be back at Ibrox Stadium.

ADVERT

One man told STV News: “Football’s very important. I’m pleased I’m here, but I feel sorry for all the folk that didn’t get a ticket because loads of folk missed out.

“Well, I’ve taken all precautions and I’ve got two jags so I’m happy about that, but I’ll go with the rules.

“If you have to wear a mask inside and stuff like that, I’ll do it. It’s there for a reason.”

Another supporter said: “Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. It’s the longest we’ve ever been away from the place, so great.”

ADVERT

One woman said she was “delighted to be back”, adding: “I’ve been 35 years a season ticket holder, so virtual wasn’t very good last year, but it was better than nothing.”

One young fan said he was “really excited” to get back into the Glasgow stadium.

He added: “It’s been a really long time, and I just can’t wait to get back to the game.”


Street locked down after man found seriously injured

Emergency services were alerted to the incident in Paisley’s Shuttle Street late on Friday night.

Sean Lowe via Email
Paisley: Officers taped off the street.

Police have launched an investigation after a man was found seriously injured in a Renfrewshire street.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident in Paisley’s Shuttle Street late on Friday night.

A 37-year-old man was taken to the town’s Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment.

The street was taped off for investigation works, with officers pictured still at the scene shortly after 6am on Saturday morning.

ADVERT

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report of a 37-year-old man found seriously injured in Shuttle Street, Paisley, around 11.50pm on Friday.

“Officers attended and he was taken to Royal Alexandra Hospital for treatment.

“Enquiries to establish the full circumstances are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.”


Woman caught with scissors in jacket pocket jailed

Danielle Fowler was snared by police in Glasgow’s Hope Street at 4.30pm on October 14, 2020.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service via Website
Court: Danielle Fowler was jailed on Friday.

A convicted attempted murderer was caught in a busy city centre street with scissors in her jacket pocket.

Danielle Fowler was snared by police in Glasgow’s Hope Street at 4.30pm on October 14, 2020.

The 36-year-old had passed out and was searched by officers who were warned by members of the public.

Fowler had recently been released from an 11-year sentence for attempting to murder a vulnerable man.

ADVERT

Fowler and co-accused Mark Scobbie ambushed the man with punches, kicks and weapons at his flat in the city’s Lambhill in 2011.

The victim would have died from a blood clot to his brain without medical attention.

On Friday, Fowler pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to having scissors without a reasonable excuse or lawful authority.

The court heard Fowler was receiving medical attention from paramedics when officers went to assist.

ADVERT

Prosecutor Alasdair Knox said: “Officers were told by a member of the public that she was in possession of a knife.

“Due to her being unconscious, she was conveyed to an ambulance and in her jacket pocket a grey handled pair of scissors were recovered.”

Fowler was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for treatment before she was arrested.

Her lawyer told the court Fowler was released from prison in April 2020 and was out on licence at the time.

Sheriff Tony Kelly jailed Fowler for ten months.

He said: “The court takes a dim view of offences such as this and only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”


In pictures: Giant colourful hares on the loose

Art sculptures raise money for charity which helps people with neurological conditions.

STV News

Ten giant colourful hares are on the loose in East Lothian – but there’s no need to call for help.

They’re all part of an art sculpture trail dotted through North Berwick to raise money for the charity Leuchie House, which provides respite for people with neurological conditions.

Here’s a look at some of the pieces on display.

STV News
STV News
STV News
STV News

You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?