BORIS Johnson has become embroiled in a row with the SNP after it railed against his planned visit to Scotland to promote the Union despite a ban on non-essential travel.
Senior figures in the Scottish Nationalist Party accused the PM of showing “total disrespect and disregard” for the lockdown rules imposed by Nicola Sturgeon.
The Sun revealed how Boris is set to visit Scotland this week as he launches an all-out bid to save the United Kingdom amid worry over levels of support for a second independence referendum.
But his plan prompted fury from top SNP politicians, who questioned whether it is within the spirit of the travel restrictions.
Christina McKelvie, the Scottish government’s Minister for Older People and Equalities, said: “Is he campaigning during the pandemic? Should he be travelling? Is this essential work?”
SNP MPs also criticised the trip, with John Nicolson stating: “I thought only ‘essential’ travel is allowed under the current lockdown.”
He said: “How does this visit (welcome as his vastly unpopular trips always are) meet the current Covid 19 criteria? Or don’t the rules apply to him?”
Neil Gray added: “Campaigning on the constitution during a pandemic you say? Total disrespect and disregard for “do not travel unless absolutely necessary.”
Ms Sturgeon hasn’t yet weighed in on the row but an SNP spokesman jibed: “The PM is always welcome to visit Scotland.”
“The law in Scotland requires all work that can be done at home, to be done at home and Scottish ministers are not engaging in visits in line with the current Stay at Home regulations and the requirement to stay local.
“So, it’s clear the PM must think the Union is really in peril if he considers his visit to be so essential.”
The First Minister aimed a barb at Prince William and Kate Middleton over their whistle-stop tour of Scotland last December.
She said the Scottish Government had reminded the Palace about the coronavirus restrictions in place.
It later emerged Edinburgh had twice urged the Royal couple not to make the trip, which happened at a time when the border with England was closed.
The PM is expected to use his trip to make an impassioned plea for Scots to reject narrow separatism, and to hail the benefits of being in the UK.
It comes hot on the heels of the SNP releasing an 11-point ‘roadmap’ to holding an independence referendum.
Ms Sturgeon has branded Boris Johnson a “cowerin, timorous beastie” and claims he “fears the will of the Scottish people.”
She said: “He’s frightened of democracy. The polls now show a majority of people in Scotland want independence.”
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She added: “If the SNP win the Scottish Election in a few months time on a proposition of giving the people that choice, what democrat could stand in the way of that?
“So Boris Johnson clearly just fears the verdict and the will of the Scottish people.”
Former PM Gordon Brown has warned the UK risks becoming a “failed state” unless crumbling relations between the devolved regions are patched up.