TORY Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, to a ‘Team UK’ summit.
Johnson congratulated Sturgeon for the SNP’s fourth Scottish Parliament election win in a row and Drakeford for Labour’s win in the Welsh Parliament and invited them to a meeting to discuss ‘shared challenges’.
Johnson phoned Drakeford on Saturday and Sturgeon yesterday, both of whom have said they will attend the summit.
In letters sent to the leaders and publicised by Downing Street, Johnson, ignoring the role of the NHS, described the Covid vaccine rollout as an example of ‘Team UK in action’.
He called for a continued ‘spirit of unity and cooperation’.
‘We will all have our own perspectives and ideas – and we will not always agree – but I am confident that by learning from each other we will be able to build back better, in the interests of the people we serve.’
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Sturgeon said she did not believe any bid for a second referendum would end up in a legal challenge from Johnson’s government.
And Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, appearing on the same programme, confirmed this, saying, ‘We’re not going near there.’
Drakeford said they needed to build ‘proper, respectful relationships’ between four parliaments with their own sovereignty that could choose to work together for common purposes.
Northern Ireland did not have elections last Thursday, but Johnson has confirmed its first minister and deputy first minister are also invited to the summit.
The main task of the summit appears to be the reorganisation of the UK economy at the expense of the working class
Meanwhile, Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer has escaped being sacked after his disastrous election campaign which saw Labour losing the Hartlepool by-election and seven councils.
He attempted to shift the blame for the Labour Party’s disastrous election campaign by sacking his deputy Angela Rayner as Labour’s chair and campaigns co-ordinator.
It was later suggested by senior Starmer supporters that Rayner had not in fact been sacked but was instead in line for promotion in a shadow cabinet reshuffle.
Labour lost control of seven councils in the elections, while the swing to the Tories in County Durham saw Labour lose overall control of the council for the first time since 1925.
Former Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Andrew Marr yesterday that Rayner had been ‘scapegoated’.
He said the leader’s style of running the party was ‘very centralised’ and that he had ‘controlled’ the election campaign.
McDonnell asked: ‘What PR genius’ had decided to sack Rayner, calling it a ‘huge mistake’.
McDonnell said: ‘When the leader of the party on Friday said he takes responsibility for the election result in Hartlepool in particular and then scapegoats Angela Rayner, I think many of us feel that is unfair, particularly as we all know actually that Keir’s style of leadership is that his office controls everything.
‘It is very centralised and he controlled the campaign, so many of us think it is really unfair.
‘What public relations genius thought this was a good move on the very day, actually, we were having successes – Andy Burnham in Manchester, Steve Rotheram in Liverpool, Paul Dennett in Salford, Marvin Down in Bristol, Sadiq in London.
‘The very day we’re recovering a bit and having successes, then they do this. I just think it is a huge mistake.’
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: ‘I think sacking Angela Rayner is not a unifying thing to do. I think it is baffling why he sacked Angela Rayner.
‘She didn’t take any of the big decisions around Hartlepool and we’ve not heard anywhere in the country people saying they didn’t vote Labour because of Angela Rayner.
‘I think it is puzzling to sack Angela Rayner and it really is unfair to have her take the blame.’
Starmer loyalist and shadow secretary of state for Scotland, Ian Murray claimed: ‘Angela Rayner has not been sacked – she has taken a significant promotion which takes her from the back office to the front.’