Boris Johnson visited Scotland this week and walked into a storm of controversy with accusations of breaking his own rules.

On the lectern in Downing street where he gives the press and TV briefings it says on the front, Stay Home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

It is the message the public have been urged to heed and follow the rules, now the law, against non-essential travel.

But here he was, hopping on a plane and taking a mini tour of the central belt of Scotland.

READ MORE: Castlemilk residents slam Boris Johnson's Glasgow trip

People were understandably questioning the Prime Minister’s visit to Glasgow and Edinburgh asking if it was absolutely necessary for him to travel from Downing Street to Castlemilk.

And judging by the response of many of our readers he wasn't hugely welcome in one of the most deprived areas of the city.

There is an argument that if Boris Johnson is going to visit Castlemilk it is best he does it during a lockdown, when everyone there is expected to stay at home.

However, the vaccination programme is highly likely to be the biggest, most important task he as Prime Minister will have responsibility for.

If something else more important and more urgent comes along in the next few years that demands his attention then we are really going to be in trouble.

The UK Government is responsible for sourcing and purchasing the vaccine for a number of suppliers and for distributing it across the UK for the devolved governments and health boards to then ensure it gets to the people.

The Prime Minister will receive daily updates on the progress of everything to do with the vaccination programme.

But if he wants to go out and see how it is being delivered for the immediate priority groups and how the preparations for the mass vaccination programme of the whole adult population are progressing, then he absolutely should.

If Nicola Sturgeon, as First Minister of Scotland, wants to go and check on what is going on in Glasgow, Aberdeen or Stornoway, then she should, also.

What should not be happening, right now, is for any of these visits or anything to do with tackling the pandemic to be used as political campaigning either party political or constitutional campaigning.

If Boris Johnson was coming to Scotland to see first-hand how the programme was progressing on the ground in the communities then he is as right to do that in Castlemilk as he is in Camden.

Previously we have seen Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge travel north on the Royal Train to Edinburgh.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson Glasgow trip: Prime Minister fails to name Castlemilk just hours after visit

 The difference is, Boris Johnson, as Prime Minister is responsible for how we tackle the pandemic across the whole of the UK and he is accountable to the people of the UK.

The Royals, who are responsible for nothing that is meaningful in the context of a pandemic, and accountable to no-one, were indulging in a publicity exercise, nothing more.

If Boris Johnson didn’t set foot here at all during the pandemic, he could be accused of ignoring Scotland.

So, as an operational matter his visit can be considered essential work.

If, however, he was coming, as has been suggested, to “save the union” after a series of opinion polls showed support for independence, then he would be better off staying in Downing Street. He can do the campaigning from Downing Street.

The height of a global pandemic, in the week when the death toll reached 100,000 is not the time to be undertaking campaign visits.

People can see for themselves how the vaccine was procured, the role of the UK Government and decide for themselves if it shows that Scotland is better of part of something bigger.

Equally they can look at decisions taken on leaving borders wide open and slow testing and conclude maybe Scotland could be done it better.

We can, and certainly will, have the debates later about who do what right and who did what wrong and put it in the context of independence versus the Union.

But the focus of the Prime Minister and the First Minister right now should be on ensuring this vaccination is, as we have been told since last March, actually the way out of the pandemic for all of us.

Both governments know there are serious questions to answer on how this has been dealt with.

Glasgow Times:

From elderly people admitted into care homes from hospitals leading to deadly outbreaks to whether the test and protect system is efficient.

From allowing foreign travel in the summer to bring in the virus again and incentivizing people to go out and eat in restaurants and spread it further.

Right now, it is about ensuring we do everything possible not to make any more mistakes and get the vaccination programme right in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. So, Boris Johnson has a legitimate excuse for visiting Scotland to see how the response is working on the ground.

The question is, was that the true motivation? if not, he should have ‘Stayed at Home. Protected the NHS and Saved Lives.