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Nicola Sturgeon accuses Boris Johnson of ‘playing politics’ as row erupts over COP26 climate summit

Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson _ Image credit: Scottish Government

Nicola Sturgeon accuses Boris Johnson of ‘playing politics’ as row erupts over COP26 climate summit

Nicola Sturgeon has accused Boris Johnson of “playing politics with the biggest issue of our time” after it emerged that a major climate change summit could be moved from Glasgow to London.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister confirmed talks are underway with the ExCel centre in London in case the decision is taken not to stage the COP26 event north of the border.

It comes amid a row between the Scottish and UK governments over the cost of policing the November summit, with the bill currently estimated at more than £200m.

Asked if it would definitely still take place in Glasgow, a spokesman for the Prime Minister suggested it would be the Scottish Government's fault if it was relocated.

He said: "We are committed to holding COP26 in Glasgow, but the Scottish Government need to work with us to make sure it's a successful summit which showcases the UK as a world leader in tackling climate change and represents value for the UK taxpayer.”

On the UK Government's talks with the ExCel centre, the spokesman said: "It is standard practice to carry out contingency planning for major international events at this scale."

In response to the comments the First Minister tweeted: This is just silly (and contradicts [Michael] Gove yesterday saying two governments [are] working well on this).

"I’ve made crystal clear @scotgov commitment to making COP26 a success and offered the Prime Minister additional input from us – he hasn’t yet responded.

"If he insists on playing politics it will be on him, not me."

In another post the First Minister said: "It’s not a row. It’s a PM playing politics with the biggest issue of our time – he should be called out on it, not indulged."

As well as the disagreement over the policing bill, there is also an ongoing argument between London and Edinburgh over the use of the Glasgow Science Centre, a building close to the main event's complex.

Claire O'Neill, the former Tory minister sacked as COP26 president by Downing Street two weeks ago, claimed the Scottish Government had "acted disgracefully" by booking it for themselves for the duration of the event.

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