Oliver Mundell has stepped down from the Scottish Conservatives front bench over new laws coming into effect later that will make non-essential travel to England illegal.
The Dumfriesshire MSP resigned as the party’s rural economy and tourism spokesperson last night, telling members in Holyrood’s debating chamber that it was “not possible to balance the very specific needs of my constituents with the need to take a collective view as a party that works for the whole country.”
Supported by 99 to 23 votes, the ban will see a minimum £60 fixed penalty fine handed to those crossing the border without a “reasonable excuse” for exemption, which includes travel for work and education, to obtain essential supplies, take a driving test or visit a usual place of worship, amongst other circumstances listed by the Scottish Government in draft legislation.
The same rules apply to those leaving areas under level three and four of Coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Mundell said that the proposed restrictions had left him and his colleagues in a “difficult position,” adding: “I have therefore regrettably offered Douglas Ross my resignation as a party spokesperson. I continue to fully support him and the party.”
Mr Ross responded saying: “Oliver always puts the needs of his constituents first and while I’m very disappointed to see him leave the shadow cabinet, I appreciate that he is only doing what he feels is best for his local area.
“He has been a very capable member of the shadow cabinet and I thank him for all his work for the party. I know he will continue to be a great Scottish Conservative representative for Dumfriesshire.”