Kate Middleton and Prince William board Royal Train
Murdo Fraser called Ms Sturgeon’s reaction “petty” and argued that she should have thanked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge instead, for boosting morale during the COVID-19 pandemic. The First Minister was questioned during a daily briefing today with the royal visit taking place despite Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions.
Professor Devi Sridhar, one of Nicola Sturgeon’s key scientific coronavirus advisors was among the critics.
The chair of global public health at Edinburgh University tweeted: “Love it here but some things I will never understand about Britain.
“Aren’t we all in a pandemic & living under travel restrictions?”
Mr Fraser said: “It seems very petty to be criticising the Royal Family for wanting to thank Scottish NHS staff for their heroic efforts.”
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The Fife MSP also referred to a visit made by Nicola Sturgeon to a COVID-19 vaccine centre earlier today.
She met with health workers at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh this morning, which is one of the 23 sites that will act as a vaccination centre in Scotland.
Mr Fraser continued: “Given that the First Minister had earlier visited NHS staff, presumably after travelling from her home to work too, it seems a bit odd that she didn’t back this trip and make it clear that it was within the rules.
“Rather than thanking William and Kate for the work they are doing to raise morale at these difficult times, the First Minister seems to be afraid of angering the republicans in her party, so she pandered to them instead.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started their three-day journey across England, Wales, and Scotland today.
The royal couple spent the day visiting frontline workers from the Scottish Ambulance Service in Edinburgh and schoolchildren from Holy Trinity First School in Berwick-upon-Tweed in a bid to spread a little bit of holiday cheer.
Ms Sturgeon declined to comment on the legality over the trip and claimed that any questions should be “directed to the Royal Household”.
Under the current regulations, it is illegal to travel between England and Scotland without a “reasonable excuse” which includes travelling for work or providing charitable services.
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Ms Sturgeon said: “The royal visit is a matter for the royal household and the arrangements around it and any questions about those arrangements should be directed to the royal household.
“The Scottish Government was advised about the intention to visit, and we made sure that the royal household were aware, as you would expect, of all of the restrictions in place in Scotland so that could inform both the decision and the planning of the visit.”
But royal sources said the visits were planned in consultation with the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.
They stressed travelling across the border is permitted for work purposes, and that the duke and duchess went to Scotland to carry out their work thanking frontline workers.
Additional reporting by Tom Martin, Scottish Daily Express Political Editor
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