NICOLA Sturgeon has said she could ask for the border to be closed if the UK government tries to prematurely end the lockdown.

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme, the First Minister said she would diverge from the four-nation approach to tackling the coronavirus if the advice she received suggested doing so would “protect the population”.

Asked if she would consider closing the border between Scotland and England, Sturgeon replied: “I don’t have the power to close borders, but these are discussions of course we want to continue to have with the UK Government.

“And on this question of will Scotland do things differently, not for the sake of it we won’t, only if the evidence and our judgement tells us that that is necessary.

“That means if – it is an if, I’m not saying that we’re likely to get into this territory – if the UK government took decisions that I thought were premature in terms of coming out of the lockdown then clearly I would want to make sure that Scotland did what I judged was best to protect the population.

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“But the virus doesn’t respect borders or boundaries and people travel freely across different parts of the UK and that’s why I think it has been important, as well as for the simplicity of messages to have as much consistency across the UK as possible and I think that’s still the starting point.

“But we all have to take decisions that we judge to be right, it’s not political in any way shape or form.”

Asked by Marr when he would be able to see his parents, who live outside Dundee, Sturgeon replied: “I’m not going to give you a date for that now, Andrew, because it would be irresponsible for me to do so because I don’t yet have the information that gives me the confidence that I can say that with certainty.

“One of the most difficult, if not the most difficult aspect of all of this, is that need for grandparents to be separated from their grandkids.

“My own parents are suffering from that right now and grandparents up and down the country are in the same position.”

She said the lockdown was “about the protection of older people who we know are much more vulnerable to becoming ill and dying from this virus than other age groups.”

It was, she said, about trying “make sure that grandparents are around for longer to see the grandkids grow up.”

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Responding to a question about her party’s criticisms of the UK government’s handling of the pandemic, the First Minister admitted that she too had made mistakes.

“Look, I understand because I’m First Minister leading a government, how difficult and how unprecedented this situation is,” she said.

“We’re all trying to make the best decisions we can, undoubtedly getting things wrong along the way as every government across the world will be, and I’ve been very clear about that from the outset.

“I will make mistakes, everybody involved in leading these responses will make mistakes but it’s really important we take the best decisions we can at every single stage and try to learn from that as we go.”

She said the measures in place were “having an effect and suppressing this virus.”

“We see that in the data we publish every day, hospital admissions and intensive care admissions, but it’s too early right now to have any confidence that we could lift any of these measures without seeing the virus potentially run out of control again.”

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Meanwhile, writing in the Herald on Sunday, the First Minister said there could be an “opportunity” after the coronavirus eases to “look seriously at social and economic reform.”

She said: “When things come apart – when the kaleidoscope of our lives is shaken – there is an opportunity to see them put back together differently, and see a new way of doing things.”

She added: “We still all face major challenges. Challenges in navigating the uncertainties that the virus has created, as well as rebuilding our economy and public services.

“But we can go further than rebuilding, and look seriously at social and economic reform.”

The crisis had, Sturgeon said, “taught us how we can achieve rapid results under the most demanding circumstances.”