BORIS Johnson last night challenged Nicola Sturgeon to choose between people’s livelihoods and her dreams of an independent Scotland.
The PM urged her to join a national effort to turbocharge the recovery from the ravages of pandemic.
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He invited the SNP leader to a summit to discuss the shared rebuilding blitz moments after her return as First Minister.
In a letter to Ms Sturgeon, he asked her to seize the offer to continue the pandemic success of “Team UK in action”.
The PM wrote: “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.”
But he made clear it would mean working together in the “months and years” ahead to overcome their “shared challenges”.
An insider said it presents Ms Sturgeon with “a carefully laid trap”.
They added: “If Nicola takes up this offer, she will be tied down to working on a UK-wide recovery programme for the next few years.
“If she says no, she’ll be turning down a huge opportunity to rebuild Scotland after the pandemic and will be personally responsible for any decline in living standards in the future.”
The Scottish National Party yesterday secured a historic fourth term in power but failed to secure an overall majority in the Holyrood Parliament.
By Alister Jack, Scottish Secretary
I CONGRATULATE Nicola Sturgeon on her victory. It’s not the result I wanted, but the result is clear.
The people of Scotland have put their faith in Nicola as we face the challenge of beating the pandemic and rebuilding.
The latest official figures show more than 327,000 Scots are still dependent on the UK Government’s furlough scheme, showing we have to get our economy firing on all cylinders so people can return to jobs or take new jobs being created.
Our NHS faces the challenge of bringing down waiting times. The in-tray is like nothing we’ve ever seen.
My pledge to the new Scottish government is we will support you. The people of Scotland expect nothing less of their two governments. We must deliver.
Ms Sturgeon said her first focus would be on the pandemic, but the people of Scotland should be able to decide on the constitutional question “when the time is right”.
But constituency voting returns show 1,364,000 people voted for pro-UK parties, compared with 1,326,000 who backed those in favour of independence.
Mr Johnson has also written to Welsh leader Mark Drakeford and the Northern Ireland administration, inviting them to attend the summit.
The Sun on Sunday says
BORIS Johnson’s ballot box triumph just got sweeter.
After handing Keir Starmer a Red Wall pasting on Super Thursday there was more encouraging news from north of the border.
Not only did Nicola Sturgeon fail to secure her much-trumpeted majority, but on the constituency vote more Scots opted for ANTI independence parties.
Shrewdly, the PM immediately invited Sturgeon to join a UK anti-Covid task force. He is right to emphasise the vital importance of national unity not division as we come out of this crisis.
But Sturgeon and her single-issue fanatics aren’t interested in any of that.
Instead of concentrating on their dreadful record on health, schools and the economy they are fixated on achieving the goal of independence.
The last thing the country needs as it recovers from Covid is a fresh bout of political chaos and division. And by denying the SNP a majority, Scots also showed that they have far less of an appetite for destroying the union than Sturgeon’s shrill Tartan Army.
Rather than stoking division, she should focus on her many problems closer to home.
But don’t hold your breath.
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