Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to stick with 'Stay home' message rather then new slogan

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said Scotland would not be adopting “the PM’s new slogan” and that she would continue to use the “stay home” message.

Boris Johnson is set to confirm the use of a new “stay alert, control the virus, save lives” slogan when he addresses the nation on Sunday evening.

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “The Sunday papers is the first I’ve seen of the PM’s new slogan.

“It is of course for him to decide what’s most appropriate for England, but given the critical point we are at in tackling the virus, #StayHomeSaveLives remains my clear message to Scotland at this stage."

Leaders in Northern Ireland and Wales also insist they will not adopt the new slogan.

Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster has said the region will stick with the “stay home, save lives” message, with Welsh counterpart announcing Mark Drakeford concurring.

Speaking to BBC Northern Ireland radio on Sunday, she said: “On the whole, the message is to stay at home. We will say we are not deviating from the message at this time.”

In an interview with Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Drakeford stressed that the stay-home slogan had not “gone away” in Wales.

“The message I will be giving to people in Wales is while they must be alert to the continuing danger of coronavirus, if you’re not out of your house for an essential purpose – and that does include exercise, it can include shopping and it must include going to work for people who can safely do so – staying at home remains the best way that you can protect yourself and others,” Mr Drakeford said.

Scottish Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has said she has “no idea” what stay alert means.

Speaking on the BBC’s Politics Scotland on Sunday, Ms Freeman said the Scottish Government was not consulted on the change.

She said: “That is not a change that we would agree with.

“I think the First Minister was really clear last week that the ‘stay at home’ message was the right message and if I’m perfectly frank, I have no idea what ‘stay alert’ actually means.”

Ms Freeman went on to say that the population will be “at a disadvantage” when adhering to the guidance if communications from the Government are not clear.

She added: “We’re asking the public to do a very great deal here and the least we can do is be consistent and clear in the message that we’re sending and stay at home is the right message.”

The new slogan has already received criticism from people including Labour's Andy Burnham and JK Rowling.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick described the new message on the coronavirus, and said he hopes it is not too woolly, saying a “broader” slogan is needed as the Government tries to restart the economy.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday it was right now to “update and broaden” the message to the public.

“I think that’s what the public want and that they will be able to understand this message, which is that we should be staying home as much as possible but when we do go to work and go about our business we need to remain vigilant, we need to stay alert,” he continued.

“And that means things like respecting others, remaining two meters apart, washing your hands, following the social distancing guidelines because the virus continues to be prevalent, too many people are still dying of this and we’re going to have to live with it for a long time.”

Pressed if there is a danger the message is too woolly, Mr Jenrick said: “Well I hope not.

“We need to have a broader message because we want to slowly and cautiously restart the economy and the country.”

Mr Drakeford was asked whether he expected to see similar tweaks to England’s lockdown restrictions as those announced in Wales on Friday.

“It’s for the Prime Minister to make the decisions for England, not for me to advise him, but his official spokesperson has been emphasising the Prime Minister’s view that maximum caution is still required at this point,” he said.

“So I’m broadly expecting that the review of the regulations in England will continue to have that incremental approach to lifting the lockdown rather than anything more dramatic.”

Vaughan Gething, health minister for Wales, said there had not been any agreement or discussion of the UK Government’s new “stay alert” slogan with the other nations.

“I’ve seen the media briefings and changed message for England. There has not been a 4 nations agreement or discussion on this,” Mr Gething tweeted.

“The @WelshGovernment message has not changed. Stay at home and if you do go out observe the social distancing rules. #StayHomeSaveLives”.

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