Johnson Visits Scotland, Ignoring First Minister’s Description of Trip as ‘Non-Essential’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Scotland promoting the rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Britain, a day after Scotland’s first minister called the visit “not essential.”Johnson visited a hospital in Glasgow Thursday where he said he visited with doctors and researchers, and, later, a vaccination center at a local sports center.At a news briefing Wednesday in Edinburgh, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon questioned the need for such a trip when all of Britain is in a COVID-19 lockdown and “nonessential” travel is forbidden. She said she would consider traveling to visit a vaccination center in her own country unnecessary and feels the same about Johnson’s visit.“If we are asking other people to abide by that, then I’m sorry but I do think it probably is incumbent on us to do likewise,” she said.In an interview earlier on Thursday, British cabinet member Michael Gove defended Johnson’s visit, saying the prime minister “has a responsibility and a role to make sure that the vaccine rollout is proceeding appropriately,” and to thank the frontline workers with the National Health Service who are administering the vaccine.But critics say Johnson’s visit is more about politics than health, promoting how vaccine rollout is an example of the benefits of staying united with Britain, at a time when polling has shown increased support for Scottish independence.Critics add he is politicking at a time when the UK is in a strict lockdown as a result of a huge resurgence of the coronavirus.Scotland voted to remain united with Britain in a 2014 referendum, on a 55% to 45% vote. 

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