Nicola Sturgeon has described it as “strange” that the Prime Minister will not meet her for talks on the country’s coronavirus recovery while he is in Scotland.
Boris Johnson has declined an invitation to meet the Scottish First Minister and SNP leader at her official residence, Bute House in Edinburgh.
Speaking as the Prime Minister began his two-day trip north of the border, Ms Sturgeon said she does not feel “snubbed” but instead claimed it is a “missed opportunity”.
Her comments came after Mr Johnson said he was “keen” to have talks with Ms Sturgeon.
But in a letter to her, he said this should take place in a “structured forum for ongoing engagement between the Government and the devolved administrations to deliver tangible outcomes in the interest of people throughout the UK”.
Ms Sturgeon told broadcasters: “I don’t feel snubbed. I think most people will think it’s a bit odd, and a bit strange, that we’ve got a Prime Minister visiting Scotland who talks a lot, rightly, about the need – despite our political differences – for us to work together where we can on getting through Covid and into Covid recovery but doesn’t take the opportunity when in Scotland to come and talk to me directly about how we might co-operate and work together.
“I think people will just find that strange and it’s for Boris Johnson to explain, I suppose, why.
“This would be 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 that Boris Johnson and I fundamentally disagree on but we both lead governments that are trying to get our countries through Covid and so there’s a lot for us to co-operate on.
“So, you know, missed opportunity but that’s on him.
“I stand ready to work with whoever, however I can to get Scotland through Covid and into recovery.”