NICOLA Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have hit out at Boris Johnson over a COVID-19 summit due to take place this week.
In a letter to Downing Street, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales asked the Prime Minister for more clarity and substance around the meeting which would bring the four UK nations together this Thursday calling for “meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes”. In the letter, the two First Ministers criticise Mr Johnson’s office for sending “a very rough proposed agenda” with key issues in the discussions seemingly yet to be agreed.
Both First Ministers also make a case for “further discussion” to take place ahead of the summit which would see such an event delayed, but still have it take place “perhaps as early as next week”.
The letter states: “We are writing about the proposed 4-nations summit on Covid recovery, which you have suggested should take place this Thursday afternoon.
“We are both deeply committed to taking part in such a summit and to working appropriately together on Covid Recovery – but, as we are sure you do, we want the meeting to be a meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes, and not just a PR exercise.
“Our view is that this will be best achieved if further detailed preparation is done in advance.”
In a list of demands to the Prime Minister, the First Ministers urged Mr Johnson to have “early discussion” to reach agreement on a detailed agenda.
They said further work was needed to “agree key issues for discussion and any supporting papers to be prepared.”
The politicians also questioned Mr Johnson on what “outcomes/further process we are seeking to achieve as a result of the summit discussion.”
The letter continued: “Further discussion between our officials, leading to the summit taking place on an agreed date, perhaps as early as next week, would allow for a much more meaningful exercise, and avoid the risk of it being just a PR or box-ticking exercise.
“We are sure that is what we all want.”
The letter has been copied to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill.
A Scottish Government source told Express.co.uk tonight: “We want a productive meeting, the Prime Minister and UK Government should be more clear in what they want to discuss.”
Boris Johnson called a Union summit with the devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on May 8th as he said the UK was “best served when we work together”.
The pitch from the Prime Minister comes after pro-independence parties, spearheaded by the SNP, won a majority in the Scottish Parliament election.