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by Ruaraidh Gilmour
11 December 2023
Humza Yousaf calls David Cameron ‘petty’ over reaction to President Erdogan meeting

Yousaf and Cameron attending Cop28 in Dubai last month | Alamy

Humza Yousaf calls David Cameron ‘petty’ over reaction to President Erdogan meeting

Humza Yousaf has called David Cameron “petty” after the UK foreign secretary sent a letter expressing his outrage about the First Minister meeting with Türkiye’s President Erdogan during Cop28.  

The foreign secretary wrote to Angus Robertson, the Scottish constitution minister, warning against Scottish Government ministers meeting with overseas officials without a representative of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).  

Following Yousaf’s meeting with the Erdogan, Cameron warned that any repeat of such a meeting without informing the FCDO with advanced notice would result in “no further FCDO facilitation of meetings or logistical support” to Scottish ministers during foreign visits.  

Cameron criticised the Scottish Government, saying that it had contravened protocols in the FCDO’s guidance to support devolved government ministers’ overseas visits. He added that an earlier warning had been issued by his predecessor James Cleverly after “a similar incident” that saw the First Minister meet with the prime minister of Iceland.  

In his letter, the foreign secretary said: “It is critical that the UK presents a consistent message to our international partners and that devolution settlements are respected. We must ensure that UK foreign policy, a reserved matter, is coherent and that we speak with one voice to the international community.

“I remain open to discussing a constructive way forward. However, any further breaches of the protocol of ministerial meetings having a FCDO official present will result in no further FCDO facilitation of meetings or logistical support. We will also need to consider the presence of Scottish Government offices in UK Government posts.”

Speaking to members of the media today Yousaf said that Cameron’s letter was “petty” and his approach “completely misguided”.  

He said: “The Scottish Government has an excellent track record of international engagement. It is why Scotland is the part of the UK, outside of London, I think for the eighth year in a row that has attracted the most foreign direct investment, because we engage with the UK Government, but we engage with other countries right across the world on international issues like foreign trade and investment.

The First Minister added: “Just because one FCDO official missed one meeting, and they were in lots of other meetings that I had. Because they missed one meeting because the time changed, to have that response from an unelected lord like David Cameron, it is petty and misguided.”

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