Edinburgh Tory councillor apologises for bending lockdown rules with trip to Canaries

A Conservative councillor in Edinburgh has apologised for a trip to the Canaries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Callum Laidlaw has apologised.
Callum Laidlaw has apologised.

Callum Laidlaw, councillor for Portobello Craigmillar and 2021 candidate for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, admitted that his holiday contradicts local guidance.

Travel is permitted to the Canary Islands, which have been added to the list of countries exempt from a requirement to self-isolate when returning to Scotland.

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But Scottish Government guidance urges against any non-essential travel outside of a level three area such as Edinburgh.

Exemptions include for work which cannot be done from home, caring responsibilities, and medical reasons.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives said Mr Laidlaw accepted he “should not have travelled abroad” as it contradicts local guidance.

He apologised for not following travel advice “as strictly as he should have”.

“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,” they said.

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

Figures from other parties criticised Mr Laidlaw’s “disappointing” actions.

Scottish Greens Councillor Melanie Main told the Daily Record: “Public health rules and guidance are in place to keep everyone safe, and it’s essential that we all stick to them. 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.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “I’m sure Mr 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.

“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.”

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