Johnson snubs Sturgeon invite to discuss Covid recovery in Edinburgh

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Nicola Sturgeon with Boris Johnson during a previous visit to Bute House (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Nicola Sturgeon with Boris Johnson during a previous visit to Bute House (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Boris Johnson has snubbed an invitation from Nicola Sturgeon to meet during his visit to Scotland this week.

The Scottish First Minister had invited Mr Johnson to meet at her official Edinburgh residence, Bute House, to discuss the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the Prime Minister has replied to Ms Sturgeon in a letter – posted on Twitter by a Sky News journalist – instead aiming to focus on wider discussions at a later point.

There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic

Boris Johnson

In his letter, the Prime Minister said: “As I noted when we last met, I am keen to arrange an in-person meeting with you and the other first ministers and deputy first minister to build on the constructive discussions we had earlier this summer.

“We agreed then that we should establish a structured forum for ongoing engagement between the Government and the devolved administrations to deliver tangible outcomes in the interest of people throughout the UK.

“There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic.

“I understand our officials have made good progress on the details of this since we last spoke.”

(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Mr Johnson added: “I am particularly keen that we work closely together on the vaccination booster campaign this autumn which will be crucial as we continue to tackle the pandemic.

“The UK Government has procured millions of vaccines for the entire United Kingdom and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government as we roll out booster jabs in line with JCVI’s advice.

“The UK Government is working closely with the devolved Scottish Government on a variety of different issues.

“I know that you have been meeting regularly with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, but I look forward to meeting with you soon and working together in the interests of people in all parts of our country.”

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged in her own letter on Monday she and Mr Johnson “differ politically”, but stressed the Scottish and UK governments must “work together where we can”.

It comes after she confirmed most of Scotland’s remaining coronavirus restrictions are to be scrapped from Monday – which she hailed as “perhaps the most significant date so far” in the pandemic.

From August 9, Scotland will move “beyond Level 0” with the removal of most restrictions such as physical distancing and the size of social gatherings.

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.

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