A CONSERVATIVE minister appears to have contradicted Covid advice from the Scottish Government over Hogmanay celebrations, after Scots were warned not to travel south of the Border to attend nightclubs.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, deputy first minister John Swinney said doing so would be the “wrong course of action” and not in the “spirit” of regulations designed to limit the spread of the virus.

Clubs are shuttered until at least January 17 in Scotland, while Northern Ireland and Wales have also closed them over the festive period.

Reports had suggested that people living in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may plan to travel to England to join the festivities on December 31.

The National:

Asked about those reports on BBC Breakfast, Swinney said: “People are free to take those decisions, but I would discourage them from doing so.

“I think it is the wrong course of action for people to take because we have a serious situation we have got to manage and we encourage everybody to play their part in addressing that.”

Later, Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to repeat this call. Asked about the reports of people crossing into England for New Year, he would only say: “I think everybody should enjoy New Year but in a cautious and sensible way.

“Take a test, ventilation, think about others – but above all, get a booster.”

After that Chloe Smith, Conservative MP for Norwich and DWP minister, also failed to point towards the Scottish Government guidance and insisted the UK is “one country”.

READ MORE: Covid Scotland RECAP: Nicola Sturgeon gives statement amid rapid rise in cases

Asked if it would be wrong for people from Scotland to travel across the Border into England to celebrate the New Year, Smith told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: “Well, I think perhaps I should just add the obvious constitutional point here, which is that we are one country and people are more than free to move around inside our country under the general law, obviously.

“But also at this time in terms of any Covid restrictions, as I understand it, there are, of course, slightly different points of guidance and regulation operating in the different parts of the UK.

“Given the general point that I think people could hear from all of the administrations in the UK is that it’s time to be cautious, the best thing to do is to get boosted and to make use of lateral flow testing so that you can keep yourself healthier and, crucially, keep those around you, wherever you are, healthier and safer too.”

Meanwhile, Scotland recorded a record-high 15,849 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

Speaking at her parliamentary update on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Over Hogmanay and New Year’s Day, and for at least the first week in January, we are advising everyone to stay at home more than normal, to reduce contacts with people outside our own households, and to limit the size of any indoor social gatherings that do take place so that they don’t include people from any more than three households.”