MATT Hancock has insisted Nicola Sturgeon yearned for a travel ban with England during the Covid pandemic.

In his controversial book published on Tuesday – called Pandemic Diaries: The inside story of Britain’s battle against Covid – the former UK health secretary has repeatedly attacked the First Minister and the decisions she made throughout the crisis.

In an entry on December 19, 2020, he wrote: “In response to our Tier 4 announcement, Sturgeon announced a travel ban with the rest of the UK. I’m sure she’s been yearning to do that all her life."

Elsewhere in the book, he has claimed Sturgeon wished to build a “Trump-style wall” with the rest of the UK and said he was pleased when Michael Gove was given the job of liaising with her by former prime minister Boris Johnson.

In another entry on May 4, 2020, he describes a pilot Test and Trace app on the Isle of Wight that got a “sniffy response” from the devolved administrations “who seem to think they can come up with something better”.

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He adds: "As part of her relentless campaign to differentiate herself, Nicola Sturgeon is now pursuing a zero-Covid strategy, loftily declaring that Scotland is ‘in a strong position to eliminate the Covid-19 virus’.

"It’s against all clinical advice, which is clear that zero Covid is impossible to achieve: Sturgeon will only be delaying the inevitable.

"Tonight she announced a ‘summer push to elimination’, a policy which has about as much hope of working as Chairman Mao’s attempt to eliminate starlings by getting the Chinese population to bang pots and pans.

"Much as I’m sure Nicola would love to build a Trump-style wall between her fiefdom and the rest of Great Britain, we’re all in this together – and I’m certainly not turning us into a hermit kingdom."

On December 8, 2020, Hancock described his relief at Gove being given the task of talking to Sturgeon.

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He wrote: “Boris is worried about keeping the four nations aligned in the run-up to Christmas and has tasked Michael Gove with dealing with Sturgeon. Sooner him than me. I’ve decided the rules around Christmas are too tricky to handle, so I’m leaving it to Michael to negotiate."

He has also claimed Tory ministers were "blindsided" by the FM's announcement to introduce face coverings in schools in August 2020 and decided to U-turn in order to avoid "a big spat with the Scots". 

In an entry on July 25, 2020, he accused Sturgeon of playing “political games” that became “incredibly debilitating”.

He went on: “She sits like a statue, lips pursed like the top of a drawstring bag, only jolting into life when there’s an opportunity to say something to further the separatist cause.”

Hancock – who resigned from his role as health secretary in June 2021 – has recently been heavily criticised for appearing on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, on which he came third.