Boris Johnson wants to cut Nicola Sturgeon out of the COP26 summit to prevent her using it as “an advert for an independence campaign”, according to leaked messages.
Downing Street advisers have reportedly been seeking to side-line the role of the First Minster at the global gathering in Glasgow, which will see an estimated 200 world leaders descend on Scotland in November.
According to meeting notes and WhatsApp messages, strategists have been trying to work out how to prevent the summit from becoming an “advert” for Scottish independence.
But Sturgeon hit back by insisting anyone who allows politics to get in the way of tackling climate change would be abdicating responsibility.
She wrote on Twitter: “All that matters is that COP26 delivers an outcome to meet the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.
“We must work together and maximise contributions towards that. Anyone – me or PM – who allowed politics to get in way would be abdicating that responsibility.”
Cop26 is due to take place in Glasgow for two weeks from October 31, and will see global leaders descend on the city.
But the leaked messages, first reported by the Independent, suggest advisers are planning to keep Prime Minister Boris Johnson from sharing a platform with Ms Sturgeon in the run-up to and during the event.
Johnson should “neutralise” the First Minster by including other devolved leaders where possible, they said.
One adviser’s message referring to Sturgeon read: “This can be labelled as a role for her [as one of the UK’s leaders] but avoids her taking centre stage.”
Another said: “We can’t let this be used as an advert for an independence campaign.”
The notes also document efforts to ensure that the union flag is displayed as much as possible at the summit.
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