SCOTLAND’S Justice Secretary has “firmly” rejected UK Government claims that the SNP stood in the way of plans to ease restrictions on non-essential overseas travel.

This week Transport Secretary Grant Shapps placed blame on Scottish ministers for delays to the announcement to abandon quarantine rules for people entering the UK from at least 50 countries.

Speaking yesterday Nicola Sturgeon and Yousaf rejected the suggestions and called his comments a misrepresentation of Scotland’s position.

Overnight the UK Government announced the “air bridges” would come into effect from July 10 rather than July 6 as had been reported originally.

The Scottish Government called it “disappointing” that Downing Street had not found a four-nations agreement before making the announcement. Plans to stop quarantine measures for people entering the UK from the countries featured on the list will, for now, only apply to England.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Overseas travel changes need proper consideration

Sturgeon accused the UK Government of having a “shambolic decision-making process” at today’s briefing, and stressed that she wants to prioritise safety in reopening Scotland back up to the world.

While the First Minister felt an agreement could be made on easing measures for people entering Scotland from low-risk countries, she said there may need to be further thought on plans to remove quarantine rules for people coming in from “medium-risk” nations, where Covid-19 levels are higher than in Scotland.

The SNP leader also said her government has “often had limited or no notice of the UK’s proposals” before they are announced.

Speaking to the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, Yousaf echoed her comments. He told the programme: “Last Friday, when we had that terrible, multiple stabbing incident in Glasgow, that night the UK Government told us that they were going to make an announcement on the Saturday.

“You can imagine that that made my blood boil that we were dealing with the aftermath of this terrible incident, when we had been asking for a call that entire week, but yet had been told, without being given any information, that we will read about it in Saturday’s press. That made me deeply, deeply angry.

“At that point, if I was playing politics, I could have gone out to the media and spoken of my deep frustration but I didn’t.

“When it came to getting information half an hour before a phone call was due to take place I could have gone to the media at that point and made my frustrations known. I didn’t.

“The only reason that this has played out in public is that the UK government has decided to lay the blame on Scotland in a way that, I’m afraid, characterises much of their handling around some of this pandemic, which instead of looking at public health they’re happy to politicise this issue.”

Another concern in relaxing overseas travel measures, the FM said today, is the difference in Covid-19 prevalence across the UK.

Sturgeon warned that the Scottish Government estimates Scotland’s coronavirus levels are five times lower than England’s.

The Scottish and Welsh governments are expected to set out their decisions on overseas travel rules in the coming days.