NICOLA Sturgeon has said she does not have a “single anti-English bone” in her body as she was asked about post-lockdown tourism from the rest of the UK.

As Scotland’s hospitality sector prepares to reopen tomorrow, a reporter asked the First Minister about stories of Scottish firms expressing concern that English visitors could be put off crossing the Border.

In recent weeks Sturgeon has refused to rule out imposing quarantine rules on people entering Scotland from the rest of the UK if public health advisers deem it necessary. Speaking last week, she said the prevalence of Covid-19 is five times higher in England than in Scotland.

Responding to her, senior UK Government figures called her comments “reckless” and even said there is no such thing as the Scottish Border. Throughout the row Sturgeon has insisted her decisions are based entirely on public health and are not influenced by politics or the constitution.

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Replying to the question about the company concerned that English people could be put off visiting, the First Minister said she was not aware of the story but wanted to stress “there’s not an anti-English bone in my body”.

She went on: “I don’t have a single anti-English fibre of my being. I come from partly English stock. My grandmother was English. And I lead a party that is full of English people so there is nothing about this …

“We’re dealing with a public health crisis right now, and I think anybody who tries to say that the decisions we are taking in a public health sense are somehow political, constitutional or suggest in any way an attitude towards people from other parts of the UK are just plain wrong.”

Sturgeon said people should “think carefully” about making suggestions that she and her party are anti-English.

Referencing quarantine rules between Australian and US states, she went on: “You’ve heard me say before that there are many many parts of the world right now where particular parts of countries have internal borders closed to other parts of countries because of a desire to stop this virus spreading.

“And I think some public health experts from overseas probably look at this debate in the UK right now askance and don’t really understand how we wouldn’t be driven purely by considerations of public health and I’m going to try to be driven purely by considerations of public health.”

The First Minister added that the worst thing she could do for business would be to stop being cautious about controlling the spread of Covid-19.

She warned being too relaxed could see the virus spiral out of control again as seen in other countries, leading to possible future lockdowns which could cause even more damage to the economy.

Addressing tourists, she said she wants people to enjoy Scotland when the industry reopens but gave some advice to those who will be entering Scotland in the coming weeks ad months.

She said the “most important thing” she can say is ask them is to rigorously follow Scotland’s guidance on hygiene, masks and social distancing.