Sturgeon and Drakeford call for Covid summit to be ‘meaningful discussion’

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford pictured in 2019 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford pictured in 2019 (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA) (PA Archive)
19:29pm, Tue 25 May 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

The First Ministers of Scotland and Wales have written to Boris Johnson calling on the proposed coronavirus recovery summit to be a “meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes”.

Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are asking the Prime Minister for more clarity and substance around the proposal which would bring the four UK nations together this Thursday.

In the letter, copied to Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill, the pair criticise Mr Johnson’s office for sending “a very rough proposed agenda” with key issues in the discussions seemingly yet to be agreed.

They also make a case for “further discussion” to take place ahead of the summit which would see such an event delayed, but still have it take place “perhaps as early as next week”.

As we are sure you do, we want the meeting to be a meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes, and not just a PR exercise

The letter states: “We are writing about the proposed 4-nations summit on Covid recovery, which you have suggested should take place this Thursday afternoon.

“We are both deeply committed to taking part in such a summit and to working appropriately together on Covid Recovery – but, as we are sure you do, we want the meeting to be a meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes, and not just a PR exercise.

“Our view is that this will be best achieved if further detailed preparation is done in advance.

“In particular, we would propose early discussion to reach agreement on the following –

“1. A detailed agenda. Your office sent a very rough proposed agenda only yesterday morning and our view is that further work is needed to agree key issues for discussion and any supporting papers to be prepared;

“2. What outcomes/further process we are seeking to achieve as a result of the summit discussion.

“Further discussion between our officials, leading to the summit taking place on an agreed date, perhaps as early as next week, would allow for a much more meaningful exercise, and avoid the risk of it being just a PR or box-ticking exercise.

“We are sure that is what we all want.”

Sign up to our newsletter