A meeting between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and three other devolved administrations … including Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been rescheduled at the eleventh hour following a new row between the Scottish, Welsh and UK governments.
The summit which was first scheduled to hold on Thursday, 27, was aimed at evaluating COVID-19 recovery so far, however, Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have refused to attend, asking for clarity on the agenda of the meeting, while stating that the purpose of the meeting must be meaningful.
According to Downing Street, the summit will be rescheduled as soon as possible, but a new date is yet to be fixed. And there is no explanation yet if a new agenda has been sent to them.
Following the cancellation of the meeting, which looks to discuss the joint COVID-19 recovery after the elections earlier this month, which saw Ms Sturgeon ruling SNP retain power in Scotland and Mr Drakeford’s Labour fly top in Wales, the four devolved nations have been fuming at each other for not preparing adequately before time.
Boris Johnson had previously encouraged the leaders to develop a spirit of unity and cooperation in creating a recovery plan from the COVID-19 pandemic, to which both the Scottish and Welsh First Ministers agreed to take part.
Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford wrote a joint letter to Mr Johnson and copied Northern Ireland’s Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, questioning the substance of the summit, a move that other concerned leaders have fumed at.
Both leaders slammed the office of the Prime Minister for sending a very rough agenda with key elements in the talks, of course not agree, while warning that a better preparation should be made before the summit.
Reacting to the demands of the Scottish and the Welsh leaders, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said, “We had scheduled for this meeting to happen tomorrow.
“As the PM set out, we need to overcome the significant challenges of the Covid recovery with the same spirit of unity and co-operation that we’ve seen during the fight against the pandemic.
“It is disappointing that the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government would prefer to delay this meeting so they have more time to prepare, especially given the scale of that challenge, but we remain committed to that spirit of co-operation.”
The reaction from Downing Street prompted a spokesperson for the Scottish government to furiously fire back, blaming the UK government over the cancelled summit and insisting it did not have the detail behind it they had asked for.
“The summit would be going ahead tomorrow if the UK Government were remotely prepared for it. As we and the Welsh Government made clear in our letter to the Prime Minister, what they had suggested was simply a PR exercise without proper substance.
“We have asked for a detailed agenda to be prepared for a serious meeting, which is what this subject deserves,” he said.