PM invites devolved leaders to ‘work together’ at Covid summit - but warns Sturgeon second referendum ‘irresponsible’

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 11:36 am
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited the leaders of the devolved nations to a summit on how the UK can recover from the Covid pandemic (Photo: Shutterstock)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited the leaders of the devolved nations to a summit on how the UK can recover from the Covid pandemic.

In letters sent to the leaders and shared by No 10, the Prime Minister highlighted the Covid vaccination rollout programme as an example of "Team UK in action" and urged them to continue the "cooperative spirit".

First Minister Mr Drakeford extended the majority for his Cardiff West seat by more than 10,000 votes, meanwhile in Scotland, the SNP saw its fourth Scottish Parliament election win in a row.

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‘We will all have our own perspectives and ideas – and we will not always agree’

The Prime Minister congratulated Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford on their re-elections, inviting them to the meeting to “discuss our shared challenges”.

In a letter to Ms Sturgeon shared by No 10, the Prime Minister said: “I would like to invite you to join me, UK Government colleagues and others at a summit meeting to discuss our shared challenges and how we can work together in the coming months and years to overcome them.

“We will all have our own perspectives and ideas – and we will not always agree – but I am confident that by learning from each other we will be able to build back better, in the interests of the people we serve.”

However, this comes as Ms Sturgeon said there could be "no democratic justification" for blocking an independence vote for Scotland.

But Mr Johnson said talk of "ripping our country apart" would be "irresponsible and reckless".

The issue of Scottish independence is something which Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said he hoped would not be discussed at the Covid summit, with the aim of the meeting instead being "to see how we can work together even better" on the pandemic response.

When pressed on whether the UK government would try to block legislation from the Scottish Parliament, Mr Gove told Sky News: "We are not going to go there", adding that speculating on legislation was "just a massive distraction".