Politics

Sturgeon offers Johnson olive branch to discuss COVID recovery plans during Scotland visit

Nicola Sturgeon has invited Boris Johnson to meet her to discuss their COVID recovery plans.

The Scottish first minister invited the prime minister to her official Edinburgh residence, Bute House, during his visit to Scotland this week.

She said it would be “their first opportunity to meet in person for a while”.

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged the two leaders “differ politically”, but said the Scottish and UK governments “must work together where we can”.

The two have taken different approaches to COVID-19 restrictions and have often been seen at odds with one another, with the devolved governments responsible for their health services.

They have usually taken the same decisions ultimately, but often with different timings.

In a letter to Mr Johnson, the first minister said his trip north “might offer us an opportunity to meet in person in Edinburgh for a discussion on the current COVID situation and our respective plans for recovery”.

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She said the talks would focus “obviously on the areas where it is important that our government work together”.

Almost all legal restrictions in England were lifted on 19 July but Ms Sturgeon has yet to confirm if the same can happen in Scotland from 9 August.

She has also warned the use of face coverings in Scotland in places such as shops and public transport will most likely remain in place for a while.

In England, the law making face coverings mandatory was lifted on 19 July, although people are expected to wear them in crowded and enclosed spaces such as public transport.

Businesses, including transport operators, can ask their employees and customers to wear face masks.

Scotland has said as restrictions are eased, personal responsibility, good practice and informed judgement will be emphasised.

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