Boris Johnson’s retreat from the English exams furore on a glamping holiday in Wester Ross resulted in the prime minister becoming embroiled in a controversy of an entirely different nature.
As pictures were published of Mr Johnson enjoying the Highland air in a bobble hat and casual checked shirt, reports emerged that he had angered a local farmer by pitching his tent in his field.
According to Mail Online, Mr Johnson put up his bell-tent on the land without permission and lit a campfire. Sheep farmer Kenny Cameron was also said to be displeased that the prime minister climbed over a fence to get into the field instead of using the gate.
Mr Johnson, 56, had been enjoying a staycation on the remote Applecross peninsula with his fiancé Carrie Symonds, their baby Wilfred and dog Dilyn.
Despite the isolation of his Scottish hideaway, the prime minister’s ears must have been burning as his Westminster opponents attacked him for being absent from Downing Street during the English A-levels crisis.
Mr Johnson is understood to have now left the Old School, a holiday cottage that costs £1,500 per week, after he was pictured.
Throughout his Scottish holiday, the prime minister faced criticism for failing to interrupt his holiday to deal with the English exams fiasco, which echoed the results U-turn performed in Scotland by Education Secretary John Swinney.
He could easily have damaged the fence by climbing over it as a short cut.”
Farmer Kenny Cameron
But as he left Applecross to face the music at Westminster, Mr Cameron accused Mr Johnson of failing to set an example when it came to how he treated the countryside.
“Mr Johnson is meant to be leading the country and yet he is not setting a great example,” Mr Cameron said.
“Usually if people want to go inside a fenced area, they ask for permission first, but I was not asked at all. It is only polite to ask.”
Mr Cameron claimed the PM and his fiancee had jumped his three-foot fence by placing two chairs from the cottage on either side.
The farmer said: “He could have put up his tent in the garden of the cottage and there would have been no problem – but he didn’t do that.”
“He could easily have damaged the fence by climbing over it as a short cut.
“There is a gate a little way up and they could have just used that. ”
It was also reported that the remains of a campfire were also left out by the tent, which had to be cleaned up after Mr Johnson headed south.
Mr Johnson is not the only politician to have had a staycation during the coronavirus crisis. Most north and north-east MSPs and MPs reported that they had not strayed far from home during the pandemic.
For example, Labour North East MSP Lewis MacDonald spent some time in Fort Augustus and Aberfeldy, while Tory MSP Donald Cameron fished with his children near his Highland home. It was a similar scenario for Finance Secretary Kate Forbes, who went walking, trekking and cold water swimming.