Stay at COP26 for as long as it takes to get deal, Sturgeon urges PM

First Minister says Boris Johnson should stay for duration of talks 'to push this deal as far and as fast as we possibly can'.

Stay at COP26 for as long as it takes to get deal, Sturgeon urges PM Jane Barlow via PA Media
Sturgeon: PM should not return to London until agreement reached at COP26.

Scotland’s First Minister has urged Boris Johnson to stay in Glasgow “as long as it takes” to get a deal at COP26.

The Prime Minister returned to Glasgow on Wednesday as the draft text of a potential climate agreement was published, calling on countries to set out more ambitious environmental goals in the next year.

Speaking to journalists, Nicola Sturgeon said the Prime Minister should not return to London ahead of the end of the conference on Friday, as well as saying she would do anything needed to get a deal over the line.

In a message to Johnson, Sturgeon said: “Stay here for as long as it takes until we get the deal that must be done in Glasgow to where it needs to be.”

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She said the PM should stay for the duration of the talks to “push this deal as far and as fast as we possibly can”.

Johnson should spend his time, the First Minister said, talking to those “who are perhaps standing in the way of getting a good deal”.

She added: “The draft cover text that has been published this morning must now be seen as a baseline, the absolute objective must be to negotiate the position in that upwards, and make sure it is not negotiated downwards.

“I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is back today, he knows that I stand ready to do anything and everything to assist these efforts but our focus must now be, for every moment that this summit is here in Glasgow, on pushing that scale of ambition on finance, on emissions as far as we can.”

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With the summit due to finish on Friday, Sturgeon said she will support it continuing for longer to ensure a deal of the required ambition is agreed.

Meanwhile, the First Minister refused to be drawn on the growing scandal over MPs’ second jobs following the resignation of Owen Paterson last week.

“Everybody knows my political disagreements with Boris Johnson but I am absolutely behind him in efforts to get this agreement over the line and where it needs to be,” she said.

“I wish him well as he brings his efforts to bear over the course of today.

“If necessary, he should stay now until the end of this COP to make sure no stone is left unturned.”

Sturgeon said world leaders are faced with a “massive responsibility” to ensure the draft text is considered a “baseline” and ambitions are not tapered in the final agreement.

She went on to say leaders of developed nations should recognise that responsibility.

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“We are at a pivotal moment in history right now, the future of the planet is at stake,” she said.

“Some countries across the world, particularly island nations, are facing existential threat and the leaders of the big, industrialised, developed countries have to recognise the massive responsibility they carry over the next few days.”