Sturgeon set for urgent showdown with Boris TOMORROW as leaders thrash out UK lockdown row
Nicola Sturgeon 'walking nationalist tightrope' says expert
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
The Scottish First Minister this week made the crucial decision to pause the easing of measures for millions of Scots. Most of the country had been due to drop down to level one in the five-tier system from next week but Ms Sturgeon said 13 council areas would remain on level two. The move was taken as Covid case numbers in those regions remain high and vaccines are still being rolled out.
Thursday’s online meeting will bring together the Prime Minister, Ms Sturgeon, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Mr Johnson is facing a dilemma in England as he toys with the possibility of pushing back the June 21 date to further ease lockdown restrictions.
Several scientists have advised ministers to hold fire due to the rising number of cases of the Indian Covid variant.
The Prime Minister and his Cabinet will make a final decision on June 14.
Downing Street confirmed Mr Johnson will meet with the leaders of the devolved administrations on Thursday.
The summit had originally been scheduled for last week but Ms Sturgeon and Mr Drakeford said they did not have enough information to take part.
Mr Johnson personally wrote to the Scottish First Minister just days after the Holyrood elections in early May, which saw the SNP fall one seat short of an overall majority.
While Ms Sturgeon insists she has been given a mandate from voters to push ahead with a second independence referendum, Number 10 has pushed back.
Ministers have repeatedly warned now is not the time to plan or hold indyref2.
Instead, they argue, Scotland should be focused on rebuilding its economy which took a battering last year when the pandemic hit.
In a statement, a No10 spokesperson suggested Mr Johnson would use the meeting to strengthen unity in the face of Ms Sturgeon’s bid for independence.
The statement said that “ministers across the UK face common challenges as they seek to rebuild in the years ahead.”
Matt Hancock shames Nicola Sturgeon over indyref2 ‘Union saved lives’ [REACTION]
Andrew Neil vowed to ‘fight back’ as he ‘declared war’ on SNP [ANALYSIS]
William is Queen’s ‘secret weapon’ in Scotland after Duke dropped hint [INSIGHT]
It added: “By working together and sharing experiences, each can learn from the other and deliver better outcomes for families across the UK.
“Throughout the pandemic, the UK Government and devolved administrations have worked closely together, at official and ministerial level, with dozens of meetings every month.
“This has been illustrated in the UK’s world-leading vaccine rollout.”
Mr Johnson will tell the leaders of the devolved administrations that he hopes “this close joint working and spirit of cooperation continues in the months and years ahead, as we begin the process of building a sustainable recovery.”
However, the SNP leader has made clear any meeting cannot be used as a PR stunt for unity.
Last week she and Mr Drakeford co-wrote a letter to the Prime Minister saying there was no clear agenda and the outcome for the meeting was not clear.
After the meeting was called off by the pair, No10 laid the blame clearly on their shoulders.
A spokesperson said it was “disappointing” that Holyrood ministers needed more time to prepare.
A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon hit back, saying the virtual gathering could have been held if Downing Street had been “remotely prepared”.
Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday backed a Government motion calling for efforts on the coronavirus recovery to be a “national endeavour”.
The motion, put forward by Finance and Economy Secretary, Kate Forbes, urged MSPs to agree that the economic recovery from the pandemic should be “supported by the collective action of public, private and third sectors, and calls for cross-party collaboration”.
It was passed by 111 votes to seven.
Source: Read Full Article