A SCIENTIFIC adviser to Boris Johnson has warned the Prime Minister that he is "making the best possible case" for Scottish independence with his "inactions" during the current Covid crisis.

As the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly across the UK, new restrictions and advice to businesses are being announced that put curbs on the ability for many to make ends meet.

Nicola Sturgeon, in a joint call with her Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts, ramped up demands on Friday for more money to support efforts to curb the spread of the virus.

The leaders of the devolved nations - that have no powers for borrowing and operate within tight budgets - have been calling for the reintroduction of the furlough scheme, but the UK Government and Treasury have been quiet on these calls.

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There is however going to be a Cobra meeting between the leaders of the UK and devolved nations this weekend to discuss further.

Professor Stephen Reicher (below), a behavioural scientist who sits on the Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) committee, has warned that the Prime Minister's inability to act decisively is due to a lack of "political authority".

The National:

He tweeted: "The UK Government is not being held back from taking action on Covid by the British public (who increasingly are demanding something be done).

"It is held back by 100 or so Tory backbenchers over whom the Government has lost political authority. Their failure.

"But we pay the price."

Johnson faced a backbench rebellion in the Commons earlier this week when 99 Tory MPs voted against the Government introducing a raft of measures to combat the spread of the virus with many taking issue with the introduction of vaccine certificates for some venues.

A by-election loss on Friday piled further political pressure on the Prime Minister at a time of crisis brought on by the emergence of Omicron which has been seen to spread rapidly and recently became the dominant variant in Scotland, overtaking Delta.

Reicher, a University of St Andrews professor, later responded to a call for independence after tweeting about Nicola Sturgeon's hands being tied due to not being able to introduce furlough.

Reicher said: "Whether you are for Independence or against, it is hard to deny that Johnson's present actions on Covid (or rather inactions which limit ScotGov's ability to act themselves) are making the best possible case in favour."

Reicher has ramped up his criticism for the UK Government's response to the health crisis, stating that the current approach of focusing solely on vaccines and putting all our eggs in one basket is "public health suicide".

He added: "We need a multi-pronged strategy in which vaccination is a key, but not the only part.

"Government must answer what else it will do today to stop infections rather than just repeat 'vaccines' whenever asked."

Sturgeon had a call with the embattled PM on Friday where she called for more Treasury support when devolved nations are facing a public health emergency.

After the call, a spokesperson for the First Minister said it was "constructive" but "inconclusive" on support being offered by the Treasury. An emergency Cobra meeting will take place this weekend.

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The UK's response to the ongoing crisis has also been criticised by the leaders of Wales and Northern Ireland, who also spoke with Johnson on Friday, making similar calls to Sturgeon.

After returning early from a trip to California, Chancellor Rishi Sunak held a call with business leaders at the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “The Chancellor spoke to business and industry leaders this afternoon.

“We recognise how important the festive period is for so many businesses and the Government will continue to engage constructively on how it can best provide ongoing support to the businesses and sectors affected.”