'One rule for them and another for us' - readers react to Edinburgh councillor's trip to Canaries during pandemic

A Conservative Edinburgh councillor has apologised for taking a holiday to the Canary Islands.

By Elsa Maishman
Saturday, 14th November 2020, 7:50 pm
Councillor Callum Laidlaw has apologised for taking the holiday, which went against local guidance on travelling out of Edinburgh during the pandemic. Picture: Michael Gillen
Councillor Callum Laidlaw has apologised for taking the holiday, which went against local guidance on travelling out of Edinburgh during the pandemic. Picture: Michael Gillen

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.

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

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Many Edinburgh Evening News readers were not impressed by Mr Laidlaw's actions.

“One rule for the UK. No rules for the Tories,” tweeted Pete.

"Apologies are disingenuous if all he is apologising for is getting caught,” added John Mitchell.

Matt Donlan said: “But us Tier 3 dwellers are asked not to travel outwith area. All parties are - rarely - in unison with that message so perhaps an elected representative should think twice. No issue if Nellie from Newington or Mick from Muirhouse want to go but a councillor smacks of do as I say.”

"He should resign. Or get added to the growing list of people in power breaking the rules,” said Willie Anderson.

"Another one who thinks the rules don’t apply to them,” added Marion Smith.

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"Nothing unusual there it's one rule for them and another rule for everyone else,” said Angela Carr.

Some readers defended Mr Laidlaw’s actions, arguing that he had broken only guidance, not rules.

"Who actually cares if he went of holiday to another country. He had done absolutely nothing wrong,” said Lewis Cameron.

"He has nothing to apologise for. He has not broken any law,” added Robin Diangelo.

Ian Strang said: “Come on there’s no restrictions to travel to Canary Islands. I actually didn’t even realise that there was a restriction on travelling abroad to places that were on the allowed list. The rules are too confusing. He shouldn’t be given a hard time for this.”

Other readers also called for more specific guidance around lockdown restrictions.

"One of the problems is that using the term guidance leaves it open for anyone to interpret what that means. The government needs to be more specific,” said Andrew Crosbie.

"Maybe if there wasn't this mix of international, National and local rules with various levels of government trying to make themselves important and enjoying the air time, while constantly changing the rules which are decided in a very arbitrary way, then people would know what to do rather than second guessing all the time,” said David Sandilands.

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.”

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