Category Archives: Scotland

TOP STORIES, Scotland

Sturgeon to urge EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit”:


Efforts to encourage EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit are to be stepped up, Nicola Sturgeon is to tell members of the French parliament.

The Scottish first minister is to address a committee of the Assemblée Nationale during a visit to Paris.

She said she would “always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome”.

The Home Office is currently testing an application system for settled status in the UK, which it said 100,000 people had successfully taken part in so far.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that fees for EU nationals to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit had been scrapped – although Ms Sturgeon said this was only after lobbying from other parties.

The first minister began a two-day visit to France on Monday, with a meeting with French European Affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau.

She is to address members of the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament, after opening a new Scottish government office in Paris.

Ms Sturgeon will tell the foreign affairs committee that her government “will always stick up for” the EU citizens living in Scotland, who include 7,000 French people.

She will say: “In recent months we have lobbied successfully to ensure EU citizens would not have to pay a fee to obtain settled status in the UK. And we will always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome.

“In fact in the coming months, we plan to step up our efforts to encourage EU citizens to stay in Scotland.”

Karin has spent 35 years living in Scotland but worries about signing up for Settled Status

Under current legislation, the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, whether an exit deal is agreed or not.

In January, Mrs May told MPs that her government was “committed to ensuring that EU citizens in the UK will be able to stay and continue to access in-country benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now, in both a deal and a no-deal scenario”.

The Home Office is currently developing the system for EU citizens to get “settled status”, allowing them to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

This is due to be fully open by 30 March, but officials said 100,000 people had already successfully taken part voluntarily during the pilot phase of the system.

A spokeswoman said the department had “invested heavily” in the scheme, with a dedicated mobile app developed and 1,500 caseworkers recruited.


Analysis by BBC Scotland chief political correspondent Glenn Campbell, in Paris

Scotland’s international reach is expanding, especially in Europe.

Since the EU referendum the Scottish government has opened new trade and investment hubs in Berlin and Paris. These are in addition to offices in London, Brussels and Dublin.

Since 2016, the devolved administration has increased its staff working on international affairs from 80 to 114.

It has had over 400 engagements with European governments, EU institutions and other international bodies in Europe.

Opposition parties accuse the first minister of straying into areas of responsibility reserved to the UK and spending too much time away from Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon describes that as the worst “parochialism” and insists that with Brexit just over 5 weeks away it has never been more vital to promote Scotland internationally.

Band of snow and ice to hit Scotland amid police warning


Glasgow in a flurry of snow

Police have urged commuters to take care and plan ahead as a band of snow and ice is expected to hit Scotland.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning covering a large stretch of the country between 01:00 and 12:00 on Tuesday.

Regions affected are central, south west, Tayside, Fife, Highlands and islands, Lothian, Borders and Strathclyde.

Up to 10cm (4in) of snow on high ground has been forecast.

Meanwhile up to 2cm (1in) of snow is expected to lie in lower areas.

Band of ice and snow is forecast across Scotland.

Weather forecasters say some roads and railways are likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and rail services.

Police Scotland has issued travel advice as rain overnight will give way to potentially heavy widespread snow.

Insp David Hynd said: “Warnings from the Met Office indicate that showers will turn increasingly to snow on higher ground then to lower levels later tonight and on Tuesday morning.

“Drivers should therefore exercise extra caution while this is in force.

“If you are travelling you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours.

“Charge your mobile phone and plan your route as well as alternative routes.”

Advice on the Met Office website reads: “Showers will turn increasingly to snow on higher ground then to lower levels later in the night and on Tuesday morning.

“Five to 10cm of fresh snow is expected above about 200m with a cover of 1 to 2cm at lower levels.”

It comes after a warning for ice was issued in the north east until 12:00 on Monday.

Meanwhile, a climber was rescued from a mountain in the Cairngorms in “appalling” weather conditions.

The man, who was climbing alone on the Cairngorm plateau near Ben Macdui, raised the alarm using a personal locater beacon at about 14:30 on Sunday.

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Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond arrested


By emmanuel justices

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has been arrested by police.

Police Scotland confirmed that a 64-year-old man had been charged and said a report would be sent to prosecutors.

Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has been arrested by police.
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has been arrested by police.

It is not yet known what Mr Salmond has been charged with. Police had been investigating following a Scottish government inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment, which he denies.

Mr Salmond, who was first minister from 2007 to 2014, could appear in court later on Thursday.

The news comes two weeks since Mr Salmond was at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where the Scottish government conceded that its internal investigation of the complaints against him was flawed.

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Nursing mother smashes 268-mile Montane Spine Race record


By mr ben rory

A Midlothian mother who expressed milk for her baby during a 268-mile race along the Pennine Way has broken the course record by more than 12 hours.

Jasmin Paris, 35, completed the Montane Spine Race – from Derbyshire to the Scottish borders – in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.

The vet, who lives at Gladhouse Reservoir, said the race was “brutal”.

Mrs Paris’ sponsor, inov-8, said her achievement was “one of the greatest stories” in the sport.

Jasmin Paris with her daughter, Rowan
Jasmin Paris was met by her daughter, Rowan, at the end of the race

Competitors spend two-thirds of the race in the dark and carry all their own kit and supplies. They also have no personal support team or runner with them on the course.

Mrs Paris told the BBC Scotland news website how despite having frozen breast milk at home before the race for her 14-month-old daughter, she expressed milk during the race to stop mastitis.

‘Very clingy’

She said: “I had thought I would have stopped breast feeding by this point and tried when Rowan was one, but over Christmas she got two viruses and I had to go back to feeding her multiple times throughout the night to soothe her.

“Although my milk production diminished throughout the race, I did express at four out of the five checkpoints.

“The first night was the hardest for me mentally because I was away from my daughter, but as the race went on it got easier as I got used to being away from her.

“She was very bemused to see me on the finish line and has been very clingy today as if she is thinking I might go away again.”

Jasmin Paris

Mrs Paris reached the finish line in Kirk Yetholm on Wednesday evening having started in Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District on Sunday.

She said that compared with other competitors, she had got off lightly with just a few blisters although her toenails were very sore and black and she feared she would lose at least her big toenails.

‘Absolute torture’

She said: “I was worried at the start of the race when I heard other runners saying they had taped their feet up as I hadn’t, but somehow I’ve not really had any problems with my feet apart from losing the skin between my toes.

“I think it comes from all the running I do, it’s toughened up my feet. I was running 100 miles a week in the run up to the race.

“I never thought I would do this race as I’ve heard it’s absolute torture but its good to set yourself a challenge because it’s exciting so I entered.

“I started thinking I could possibly win and it was exciting when it turned into a race and Eugeni was chasing me for 40 miles.

“A man was also popping up along the course telling me our split times, which made it really exciting and when Eugeni was entering one of the checkpoints and I was leaving I think it broke his morale.”

Jasmin Paris

Competitors have one week to complete the gruelling race, which travels over hilly terrain and covers 43,000ft of climbing – more than Everest at 29,000ft.

The Spine Race 2013 winner, Eugeni Rosello Sole, was forced to push his emergency button 6km before the end, which eliminated him from the race after becoming unwell from sleep deprivation.

‘Bad situation’

During the entirety of the race, Mrs Paris only slept for three hours.

She said that by the last day, she was hallucinating on the Cheviots.

“I saw a pig in the heather, trees stretching and doing a morning workout in the woods, workmen doing stretches, a house appeared and I was very cold.

“There is not much of a comfort zone between a bad situation and an ok situation and I was aware I was pushing my limits but I know that’s what happens.

“It was the hardest race I’ve done due to the amount of time and weather wise, but I’m really happy because I gave it my best shot. I raced hard and gave it the best I could.

“It’s been a life affirming experience and it will take me a couple of weeks to recover from the effort and cost it took.”

Jasmin Paris

Mrs Paris did the race during a week-long break from writing her PHD thesis, which she must hand in by the end of March.

Lee Procter, inov-8 ambassador team manager, said: “All of us here at inov-8 are so proud of Jasmin.

“She is not a professional, full-time athlete, but instead a down-to-earth, modest mum-of-one with an incredible talent and phenomenal strength, both physically and mentally.

“What she has achieved in this race in beating everyone of both sexes and setting a new overall course record is one of the greatest stories in the history of ultra-running as a sport.”

‘Sleep deprivation’

Scott Gilmour, The Montane Spine Race director, also said it was an “incredible feat”.

He said: “Never underestimate a competitor whether it’s a man or a woman. It’s the person’s dedication and attitude that drives results.

“Paris is a machine so this result is not a surprise to us, but what is brilliant is she carried all that expectation and pressure on her shoulders.

“She never got upset and was swan-like all the way to the end.”

He added: “The four-day record of 95 hours was really tough and we didn’t think it was possible to beat it due to sleep depravation, its incredible.

“She absolutely dictated the pace of the race, it’s an incredible feat.

“She’s such a figure head and such a champion and she will inspire others.”

Jasmin Paris
Competitors spend two-thirds of the race in the dark

Jasmin Paris crossing the finish line

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Sturgeon refers herself to standards panel over Salmond case


By Emmanuel Justices

The first minister has referred herself to a standards panel over her actions during an investigation into Alex Salmond.

Nicola Sturgeon made phone calls and took meetings with Mr Salmond while claims of sexual harassment – which he denies – were being investigated.

She said it was in the interest of the complainants that she should be examined under the ministerial code.

However, she also said she “acted appropriately and in good faith.”

Ms Sturgeon said: “It is in the interests of the women who have complained that the ongoing police investigations are allowed to continue without any risk of prejudice. That must be the priority for everyone. 

“I have acted appropriately and in good faith throughout, and in compliance with the ministerial code at all times. However, I have reflected carefully and understand that it is also important for parliament and the wider public to be assured of that.

“The independent advisers will now be consulted on their precise remit, and advice will also be sought on how to ensure that there is no risk of prejudice to the ongoing police investigation. The remit will be published in due course.

Questions raised

It comes after Ms Sturgeon denied conspiring against or colluding with Alex Salmond over the sexual harassment claims.

Opposition leaders have questioned why she met him after the allegations were made, and why no minutes were taken.

Ms Sturgeon continued: “The fact remains that at the centre of this issue are two women whose complaints could not be swept under the carpet.

“Any continuing commentary about these issues at this stage – whether from myself, the government or Mr Salmond and his representatives – would only serve to distract from and potentially compromise the proper consideration by the police of the subject matter of their investigations.

“That is something we will not do.”

‘Right thing’

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for a public parliamentary inquiry “in order for the public to have confidence” in Ms Sturgeon and her government.

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon has done the right thing in accepting Scottish Labour’s call for her to refer herself under the ministerial code.

“It is also now essential that the Scottish Parliament is given the power to fully review the outcome of this investigation into whether Nicola Sturgeon has broken the ministerial code.”

He added: “Throughout this process it is essential to remember that at the centre of all of this are two courageous women who put their faith in a system that has badly let them down, and we must never lose sight of that, by safeguarding the duty of care to them and their access to justice.

“We must restore trust and confidence in the system.”

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