SCOTS should not be drinking alcohol in their gardens with others, a senior SNP minister has said. 

Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said new rules banning the consumption of alcohol in outdoor public places were designed to stop people gathering together.

But he added: "If you wish to have a, shall we say a glass of prosecco in your garden, nobody is going to come round and stop you and seize the glass from your hand and dash it to the ground."

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a tightening of lockdown restrictions yesterday, including a crackdown on alcohol. 

She said it will now be against the law in all level four areas of Scotland to drink alcohol outdoors in public.

This will mean, for example, that buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted.

Different parts of Scotland currently have different rules around drinking in outdoor public places.

Mr Russell was quizzed on the change while giving evidence to Holyrood's Covid-19 Committee. 

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton asked if it was a prohibition on all drinking outdoors, and referenced drinking in gardens.

Mr Russell said: "I don't think socialisation is to be encouraged, so if you were planning to have even a one-to-one party in your garden I would strongly counsel you against it."

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He said restrictions against alcohol in public places already exist in many areas.

Mr Russell said the new rule was specifically designed to prevent crowds gathering outside pubs selling alcohol at the door.

He said: "It is, again, the purpose of it that is really important: to stop people gathering together."