No10 is seeking 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.
The Independent reported that No 10 advisers and the Cabinet Office have been seeking to sideline the role of Scotland’s first minister in the global gathering.
The newspaper saw meeting notes and WhatsApp messages related to COP26. According to these, strategists want to prevent the summit from becoming an “advert” for Scottish independence.
The leaked messages suggest advisers are planning to keep prime minister Boris Johnson from sharing a platform with Sturgeon in the run-up to and during the event.
Johnson should “neutralise” the first minister 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.
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We can’t let this be used as an advert for an independence campaign.
The notes also document efforts to display the union flag as much as possible at the summit.
Who’s playing politics?
Responding to the reports on Twitter, Sturgeon said:
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 31 October. The conference will see global leaders descend on the city.
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