Nicola Sturgeon closes border to England despite claim she does NOT have the power

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As of 6pm on Friday, it will be illegal for anyone to enter or leave Scotland without a valid reason. Those caught flouting the rule risk being slapped with a £60 fine under the restrictions which will also see non-essential shops, hospitality venues, gyms and beauty salons forced to shutter.

Ms Sturgeon’s rules were heavily scrutinised by opposition MPs who questioned if ministers even had the power to impose such strict measures.

Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said lawmakers had “grave doubts” about the legitimacy of the new orders.

Mr Tomkins, who is a law professor at Glasgow University, said: “It’s not at all clear if the draft regulations published today are within the remit of the Scottish parliament.

“There are, at least, grave doubts about the legal competence to act in the way Scottish ministers propose.”

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called the ban on travel “deeply flawed”.

On Monday a Tory MSP left the frontbench after he defied the party whip and voted against new coronavirus restrictions.

Oliver Mundell, who has served as the rural economy and tourism spokesman for the party since Douglas Ross took over, said he could not vote to support travel restrictions which he believes will impact the ability of his constituents in Dumfriesshire to cross the border.

A motion in the Scottish Parliament, which did not allow MSPs to knock down the changes, was passed by 99 votes to 23.

Mr Mundell, the son of former Scottish secretary David Mundell, said: “On this occasion, it was sadly not possible to balance the very specific needs of my constituents with the need to take a collective view as a party that works for the whole country.”

The travel regulations being ushered in apply to those travelling between Scotland and parts of the common travel area: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

In the section entitled “Restrictions on leaving Scotland” it says that “a person who lives in Scotland must not leave Scotland for the purpose of entering or remaining in a place within the common travel area”.

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A ban on people in Level 3 and Level 4 areas travelling outside of their
council boundaries for non-essential purposes will also come into law.

The toughest restrictions to date are set to be imposed on 11 council areas on Friday evening.

Earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon announced the “unpalatable but necessary” step of moving parts of west and central Scotland from Level 3 to Level 4.

The new rules will remain in place for three weeks, she said, due to “stubbornly and worryingly high” coronavirus infection rates.

And Scots have been told not to use public transport unless absolutely necessary.

The areas moving to Level 4 are Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

People still cannot meet in each other’s homes, with exceptions for extended households and those providing care, while socialising outdoors also remains limited to six people from two households.

Takeaway services and essential work-related accommodation can continue but indoor sports facilities and all leisure and entertainment venues will close.

Places of worship remain open but with a limit of 20 people with the same for funerals, while weddings and civil partnerships have a maximum of 15 attendees – including the couple.

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