ALL Under One Banner have been forced to cancel their march to mark the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath over fears about the coronavirus.

Thousands had been expected to take part in the rally in April but, in a statement on their website, organisers said they had no choice but to postpone the event until next year.

Neil Mackay, from the group, said: “We take our responsibilities to the people of Scotland very seriously.

“That is why we organise marches and rallies which are positive, happy and safe for the people of Scotland.”

He added: “The risks presented by the continued spread of the coronavirus mean that we must act.

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“We understand that keeping people home as much as possible until the threat recedes is a necessary step. We have listened carefully to advice from NHS Scotland and Scottish Ministers and have decided to postpone the march and rally arranged for Saturday April 4, 2020, at Arbroath.

“We were looking forward to a fantastic weekend of celebrations and are very sorry to postpone the march and rally.

“Postponing is the best way in which we can support the people of Scotland and our Scottish NHS and other emergency services at this time.”

The outbreak will likely impact on many of the events marking the anniversary of the 1320 Declaration of Arbroath. However, though it may be a bit far for most readers of The National at such short notice, the Tartan Day parade in New York on April 4 is set to go ahead.

The National:

The American Scottish Foundation said the situation was “fluid” and they had not yet received “notice from NYC officials to cancel”.

It comes as the annual St Patrick’s Day parade – due to take place next Tuesday – was cancelled for the first time in more than 250 years.

Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens have announced they are cancelling their spring conference due to the outbreak. It had been due to take place in Kirkcaldy on March 28.

Ross Greer said: “Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, the Scottish Greens Executive Committee has today taken the decision to cancel our upcoming conference.

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“The health and well-being of our members and the public is our primary concern and it is with that in mind that we have taken this decision.”

Labour too have been forced to cancel their special conference in London on April 4, where the party was due to announce the winner of their lengthy leadership contest.

A spokesperson said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. Our priority is the wellbeing of our members and staff, and ensuring we fully contribute to the collective effort to protect public health. We are considering whether upcoming constituency meetings should go ahead and will keep our members fully informed.”

Labour members have been voting since late February for their new leader, with Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Keir Starmer vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn.

The Electoral Commission has also called on the UK Government to cancel the English local elections.

In a letter to cabinet office minister Chloe Smith, the watchdog said they were not “confident that voters will be able to participate in the polls”.