Scotland's First Minister accuses Andy Burnham of playing politics in row over travel ban

Peace may be about to break out between Scotland and Manchester after a war of words over a travel ban to the region.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said he will be in discussion with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday to discuss the ban.

A ban on all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford, adding to a pre-existing ban on Bolton, was announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Friday - to the surprise of Mr Burnham, who had no warning of the move, and criticised it as disproportionate.

The First Minister then suggested Mr Burnham was seeking to "generate a spat" to position himself in a future Labour leadership contest.

Today, the Scottish Government has said it will not compensate people and businesses from Manchester.

Speaking in Holyrood on Tuesday, Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney said: "The Government does not believe that would be appropriate.

"Travel to the north west of England has previously been prohibited last year, before local levels regulations were introduced and no compensation was offered.

"We are all responsible for putting in place, in our respective parts of the United Kingdom, the financial support to arrangements for business and that's exactly what the Government will continue to do here in Scotland."

Mr Burnham aid the ban is unfair as areas like Bolton are affected, despite having lower infection rates than Dundee which is not subject to the new rules.

The First Minister was asked about Mr 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.

Nicola Sturgeon Scotland's First Minister

"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."

Responding to Ms Sturgeon's comments, Andy Burnham told Granada Reports, it was the Scottish Government who should have picked up the phone before making any announcements.

Mr Burnham continued: ''They're always out there complaining when the Westminster Government does something like this. Well I think we're entitled to say, well hang on a minute, you're doing the same to us.''

In a letter to the First Minister, Mr Burnham asked her to explain what criteria the Scottish Government was using to determine the non-essential travel ban policy.

He said: ''Manchester and Salford also have similar case rates to Dundee. We believe residents of both cities deserve an explanation of the criteria and thresholds you are using.

''They also need to know, by your criteria, what does the case rate need to be for the travel ban to be ended and why did you not make that clear when imposing the ban?''

Bolton currently has a Covid-19 case rate of 250 per 100,000 population, while Dundee's rate is over 300.

Mr Burnham said his office had received more than 50 emails about the ban and cited one person due to marry at Gretna Green in early July and tour Scotland on honeymoon having had to cancel, and a family due to visit north of the border to scatter the ashes of a loved one also shelving their plans.

Mr Burnham also said one hotel in Greater Manchester had reported the loss of 200 room nights.

The First Minister has said she has a duty to keep Scotland safe by taking necessary public health measures.