A BARRHEAD activist who displayed a banner demanding that ‘England get out of Scotland’ as he staged a controversial protest at the border between the two countries has defended his actions.

Sean Clerkin arranged last week’s protest by the Action for Scotland group to highlight calls for Holyrood chiefs to implement quarantine restrictions on people from south of the border if they are engaged in non-essential travel.

He insists that, with England recording a higher number of coronavirus cases than other parts of the UK, quarantine is needed to “protect the people of Scotland.”

Mr Clerkin also revealed his group is planning to stage further events in the coming days and months to get its message across.

He said these will take place at “ports of entry from England, such as airports, railway stations, bus stations and roads.”

“It would be best that people living in England think of others and take staycations in England, which is in the best interest of public health,” said Mr Clerkin, who has a history of protesting and publicly confronting high-profile politicians.

Dismissing claims that last week’s demonstration was ‘anti-English,’ he added: “This protest is purely about protecting the health of the people of Scotland.”

However, East Renfrewshire politician Jackson Carlaw has slammed Mr Clerkin over last week’s demonstration, which took place next to the ‘Welcome To Scotland’ sign on the busy A1 road.

Mr Carlaw, who is MSP for Eastwood, told the Barrhead News: “There is no excuse for this shameful and divisive behaviour.

“This is what happens time and again when the SNP wilfully talk up quarantining those from other parts of the UK – and it needs to stop.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has refused to rule out a quarantine system for people coming to Scotland from other parts of the UK, has asked people not to protest at the border, saying it is not “sensible or helpful.”

She added: “They do not speak for me.”