NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham of playing politics in the ongoing travel ban row.

The First Minister said she suspected his remarks were "more about generating a spat with me as part of some positioning in a Labour leadership contest in future". 

It comes after Mr Burnham accused the Scottish Government of treating the north of England with "contempt".

READ MORE: Andy Burnham accuses Scottish Government of 'hypocrisy' and 'double standards'

Ms Sturgeon announced on Friday that all non-essential travel to Manchester and Salford would be banned from today.

Yesterday, Mr Burnham said he would write to Nicola Sturgeon to demand compensation for businesses and individuals affected. 

He said his administration was not contacted before the announcement and accused the Scottish Government of "double standards" and "hypocrisy".

Deputy First Minister John Swinney this morning rejected his compensation call.

READ MORE: John Swinney rejects Andy Burnham compensation call over Manchester travel ban

Ms Sturgeon told BBC News: "These are public health measures. I have a duty, and it's one I take very seriously, to keep Scotland as safe as possible.

"I'm sure Andy Burnham feels the same sense of duty toward people in the Greater Manchester area.

"I've always got on well with Andy Burnham and if he wants to have a grown-up conversation he only has to pick up the phone but if, as I suspect might be the case, this is more about generating a spat with me as part of some positioning in a Labour leadership contest in future, then I'm not interested.

"We've all got a serious job of work to do right now and I'm serious about doing that job in a way that keeps Scotland as safe as I possibly can."

Speaking on Sky News, Mr Burnham said the Scottish Government should have "picked up the phone before they did this", adding: "I want to hear from [Ms Sturgeon] how this can be fair."

The Labour mayor said Bolton, which was already subject to a travel ban, has a lower Covid case rate than Dundee. 

He added: "Bolton is under this travel ban, Dundee is not.

"So I think we need an explanation from the Scottish Government - what are the criteria that are being used here to introduce these decisions, and is there going to be any support for individuals affected?"

Mr Burnham said he has recieved emails from Greater Manchester residents who are "thousands of pounds out of pocket as a result of these changes". 

He called for the Scottish Government to say how long the ban will be in place.

Asked whether his comments are about political posturing, Mr Burnham said Ms Sturgeon is "insulting" Greater Manchester residents who are raising concerns. 

He added: "They are treating the north of England with the same contempt that the UK Government treats the north of England."