Sturgeon criticises Boris Johnson over 'missed opportunity'
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Nicola Sturgeon had invited Prime Minister Boris Johnson to meet with her during his two-day visit to Scotland and formally asked for him to attend Bute House to discuss the pandemic and other political issues. In the letter, Ms Sturgeon admitted both were politically different but should put that aside for the population as a whole. Mr Johnson denied the invitation, stating he would prefer to set up a more structured future meeting with all devolved leaders with Ms Sturgeon being interviewed about the “snub” afterwards.
Speaking on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon was asked for her thoughts about the declined invitation as she visited a school.
She told the channel: “No I don’t feel snubbed but I think most people think it’s odd and a bit strange that.
“We’ve got the Prime Minister visiting Scotland and talks a lot lately about the need, despite our political differences, for us to work together on getting through Covid and into Covid recovery.
“But he doesn’t take the opportunity when in Scotland to come and talk to me directly about how we might cooperate and work together.
“I think people will just find that strange and it’s for Boris Johnson to explain.
“That would have been the first opportunity given Covid for us to sit down, appropriately, socially distanced and have a face to face chat.
“I think it would have been a good opportunity, I was getting ready to welcome him to Bute House today.
“There’s lots Boris Johnson and I fundamentally disagree on but we both lead governments that are trying to get through Covid and so there’s a lot for us to cooperate on.
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“So, you know, missed opportunity but that’s on him.”
Scottish Conservative Leader Douglas Ross defended the PM’s decision, claiming it would be used by Ms Sturgeon as a power-play considering Mr Johnson’s unpopularity in Scotland.
He added the PM was in charge of the whole of the UK and the devolved Scottish Government could be trusted to deal with the powers it has been granted by Westminster.
The PM shared the declined invitation online in a formal letter where he welcomed the invitation but had to focus on other parts of his trip first.
Mr Johnson said: “There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic.
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I understand our officials have made good progress on the details of this since we last spoke.”
Mr Johnson avoided visiting the country during the Holyrood elections in May over fears it could negatively impact the Scottish Tories chances.
However, there are fears the SNP will begin to ramp up its independence campaign once more as Covid restrictions are set to be lifted.
Mr Johnson will meet with police forces and renewable energy companies as part of his trip with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also taking a separate trip.
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