Will Sturgeon introduce border-crossing restrictions?

Journeyman

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Nicola Sturgeon held a press conference concerning the new restrictions in the north of England, advising Scots not to travel there unless absolutely necessary. Fair enough, but it's got me wondering if she might try limiting travel across the border as a whole, or impose some sort of quarantine.

It'll be extremely difficult to enforce, and monstrously inconvenient for people in border areas who work and/or shop in English towns like Berwick or Carlisle. But...I wonder if she's under pressure to do it from the extreme nutjob wing of the nationalist movement. There's been some openly racist anti-English comments flying about, and I can't help thinking that some of these people would have the biggest orgasm of their lives if border restrictions were imposed.

Thoughts, anyone?
 
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Journeyman

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Does she have the legal power to do this or is this reserved for Westminster only (which, if it is, we can be assured it’ll never happen)
Measures under public health can be carried out, which is how the Scottish government justified different quarantine arrangements for overseas travel. So, yes, I think it could be done.
 

NorthOxonian

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The difficulty is that (except for parts of Carlisle) the issue isn't close to the border. It seems unfair to tarnish the people of the North East and Cumbria with the same brush as Manchester or Yorkshire. However I suppose there isn't an easy way to distinguish between someone nipping over the border from Northumberland versus travelling from further afield.
 

adc82140

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She can't. Any attempt to create a border between England and Scotland will result in the suspension of devolution. Remember the UK is not a federal state like the US or Australia, where the state governments carry considerably more clout. There is precedence. The Stormont assembly in Northern Ireland was suspended in the 70s when Westminster took a dim view of what they were doing.
 

Kendalian

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Does she have the legal power to do this or is this reserved for Westminster only (which, if it is, we can be assured it’ll never happen)
No, she said herself she does not have the legal power to close the border per se.

In theory she could impose a quarantine ban on travel into Scotland from England, which will provoke a constitutional crisis Sturgeon can't win (well not initially)
 

Kendalian

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She can't. Any attempt to create a border between England and Scotland will result in the suspension of devolution. Remember the Stormont assembly in Northern Ireland was suspended in the 70s when Westminster took a dim view of what they were doing.
Yes, a nuclear option Boris has at his disposal (or rather Her Majesty acting on Boris's "orders")
 

carlberry

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Yes, a nuclear option Boris has at his disposal (or rather Her Majesty acting on Boris's "orders")
Which would play into what she wants anyway!
An easier way would just be to reimpose travel restrictions within the southern ends of the Scottish regions that border England (in the same way that Boris did in Leicester). It's unlikely, as it would hurt the local Scots, however if the infection rates on either side where sufficiently different she might be able to get away with it.
 

Kendalian

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Which would play into what she wants anyway!
An easier way would just be to reimpose travel restrictions within the southern ends of the Scottish regions that border England (in the same way that Boris did in Leicester). It's unlikely, as it would hurt the local Scots, however if the infection rates on either side where sufficiently different she might be able to get away with it.
Exactly...support for independence would likely go through the roof, hence why I called it a nuclear option!
 

adc82140

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A lot of people are making the mistake that Sturgeon=Scotland. A great many Scots I know can't stand her.
 

carlberry

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A lot of people are making the mistake that Sturgeon=Scotland. A great many Scots I know can't stand her.
To be fair the same can be said about Boris and England and I know too many Welsh people to even bring up the other name (as it just sets them off!).
 

DavidB

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No, she said herself she does not have the legal power to close the border per se.

In theory she could impose a quarantine ban on travel into Scotland from England, which will provoke a constitutional crisis Sturgeon can't win (well not initially)
But that would be a token gesture and completely unenforceable - how is anyone going to know if Mrs Bloggs from Gretna Green goes shopping in Carlisle, or Mr Smith from Berwick visits his parents in Jedburgh?
 

adc82140

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It's noticeable how she has softened her language over this to mere "advice". She knows deep down that going too far would limit the existence of her office.
 

carlberry

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I don’t think a Prof of Public Health would advise you professional railway people how to operate trains, so maybe worth reading this article on the need for cooperation between all four nations which make up the UK
https://twitter.com/devisridhar/status/1289220310483349505?s=21
Their statement is let down by not including the Republic of Ireland which (for Covid) is much more important for Northern Ireland then what England, Scotland and Wales do.
 

Huntergreed

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Their statement is let down by not including the Republic of Ireland which (for Covid) is much more important for Northern Ireland then what England, Scotland and Wales do.
That's true, but it does seem to me that Sturgeon is absolutely dead set on getting it to 0 cases, which, as long as England don't pursue the same approach, is sadly an unrealistic goal to achieve.

Would a temporary suspension of devolution have been the correct approach to take?
 

farci

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Their statement is let down by not including the Republic of Ireland which (for Covid) is much more important for Northern Ireland then what England, Scotland and Wales do.
Last time I looked (around 1922?) RoI was an independent state so not part of the UK. However NI and the Republic do cooperate to their mutual benefit
 

Huntergreed

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Last time I looked (around 1922?) RoI was an independent state so not part of the UK. However NI and the Republic do cooperate to their mutual benefit
That is correct, but in terms of NI pursuing the elimination strategy, as they are landlocked with only RoI, it is more important for them to cooperate with the RoI government than that of the UK in theory.
 

1D54

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Wasn't sure where to put this so apologies if in wrong place.. We have a one day trip to Dublin booked for September and does anyone know where we stand because of the 14 day quarantine ruling currently in place for travellers from the UK for such a thing?
 

Huntergreed

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Wasn't sure where to put this so apologies if in wrong place.. We have a one day trip to Dublin booked for September and does anyone know where we stand because of the 14 day quarantine ruling currently in place for travellers from the UK for such a thing?
The simple answer is we’ll have to wait and see, as is the case with basically everything at the moment I’m afraid.

At the moment quarantine is not required from RoI, but in 2 months anything could happen, fingers crossed it will stay this way, but nobody knows for certain sadly.
 

1D54

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14 day quarantine ruling for UK citizens arriving in the RoI is what I meant. We don't plan on being in the country for 14 hours!
 

Tomos y Tanc

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Would a temporary suspension of devolution have been the correct approach to take?
Speaking from a Welsh perspective the answer is a resounding no!

The devolved governments have handled this so much better than the UK Government has done. As proof of that, yesterday there were 846 new infections in the UK of which 812 were in England and only 34 were in Wales, Scotland and NI combined.

As far as closing the borders are concerned, Wales and Scotland effectively did that for most of the lock-down period with their 'stay local' rules. It would obviously be more politicaly sensitive to close the borders while allowing free movement within them but it's within the competances of the devolved administrations to introduce such a ban on public health grounds.

Power devolved is power retained though, so it would be possible for the UK Parliament to legislate to overturn such a ban. Alternatively, the UK Government could ask the Supreme Court to rule on whether such a ban was proportionate.

In Wales case it's highly unlikely to happen anyway because of the sheer volume of daily cross border traffic. Scotland has a far larger buffer zone between its major population centres and the border so they may consider it.
 
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Enthusiast

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This is all pie (or perhaps haggis) in the sky. Whatever she might want or legislate for there is no way that Ms Sturgeon could effectively restrict or even monitor movement into Scotland from England. Nobody would know who, among Scots residents, had visited England and so there would be no way of enforcing a quarantine upon them.
 

Tomos y Tanc

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This is all pie (or perhaps haggis) in the sky. Whatever she might want or legislate for there is no way that Ms Sturgeon could effectively restrict or even monitor movement into Scotland from England. Nobody would know who, among Scots residents, had visited England and so there would be no way of enforcing a quarantine upon them.
Um? Haven't you heard of something called Police Scotland? The border was effectively closed for months during lockdown. There's no reason it can't be again.
 

Huntergreed

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It wasn't closed. Anyone with a valid reason could cross it.
Or anyone without a valid reason, there were no border checks (on the roads anyway), although I am aware that BTP were asking for reasons in the early stages of lockdown (again though, this wasn’t because of the border, this was everywhere)
 

Huntergreed

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Well, exactly. A closed border is one you can't cross without a valid reason. No border is ever been closed to everyone.
I think what’s being referred to here is the idea that anyone coming from England up to Scotland would have to quarantine for 2 weeks.

Does the devolved administration in Scotland have the legal and political powers to do this (or could they do so through some fancy “emergency” Instrument like they keep doing at Westminster) or would it need full approval of the UK government. If so, then it’s never going to happen, as Boris has previously dismissed the idea as “absurd”.
 

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