A SCOTTISH Conservative councillor and candidate for Holyrood in 2021 has been forced to apologise after flying out to the Canary Islands against Covid guidance.

The SNP and Greens both stressed the importance of following the Covid guidance to keep everybody safe, and said that politicians are not above the rules.

Callum Laidlaw, who represents Edinburgh’s Portobello/Craigmillar ward, told the Daily Record he was sorry he had not followed local guidance “as strictly as he should have”.

The Tory’s Holyrood candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith’s holiday to the Canaries means he will not have to quarantine on return, as the islands are on the list of “exempt countries and territories”.

However, his local area is currently under Lockdown Level 3, which states that any “unnecessary travel” out of the health board area must be avoided.

The SNP said Laidlaw’s constituents, “the majority of whom have been following public health guidance rigorously, will be disappointed and frankly astonished to learn about his reckless decision to ignore that guidance”.

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A party spokesperson added: “It’s simple - there cannot be one rule for politicians and another for everyone else. Mr Laidlaw should make absolutely clear just how important the rules he blatantly disregarded are as we continue to fight this virus.”

Scottish Greens Councillor Melanie Main said it was “essential” that we all stick to the Covid rules for them to have an effect.

She told the Record: “Politicians have a particular responsibility to set an example, so it’s extremely disappointing to see an elected representative contravene local guidance.

“Everyone must play their part to help bring the virus back under control.”

Approached about Laidlaw’s holiday, a Scottish Tory spokesperson said: “Mr Laidlaw checked with his tour operator immediately ahead of his family holiday and was informed the Scottish Government guidance permits travel to the Canaries. He followed international travel guidance at all times.

“Mr Laidlaw accepts that he should not have travelled abroad at this time as it contradicts local guidance, and he apologises for not following the local advice as strictly as he should have. He urges everyone to continue to follow the guidance at all times.”