Nicola Sturgeon has said Boris Johnson’s refusal to meet her during his visit to Scotland is a “missed opportunity” but not a “snub”.
The Prime Minister arrived north of the border on Wednesday but declined an invitation to hold talks with Scotland’s First Minister.
His first public engagement of the trip began shortly after 2pm when he went into a meeting with senior Police Scotland officers to discuss policing at the Cop26 international climate summit, which is taking place in Glasgow in autumn.
Ms Sturgeon had invited him to meet at her official Edinburgh residence, Bute House, to discuss the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Prime Minister will not find time to meet Ms Sturgeon during his two-day visit.
She 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.”