Michael Gove says Covid pandemic has shown ‘joint success’ of United Kingdom ahead of today’s union summit

Michael Gove has claimed the pandemic has shown the “joint success” of the United Kingdom ahead of today’s union summit between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson.

The First Minister will meet with the Prime Minister virtually today, along with Deputy First Minister John Swinney and the First Ministers and Deputy First Ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland.

Taking place in the early afternoon, it will see Mr Johnson call for close joint working and the spirit of co-operation continues in the months and years ahead to help bring about a sustainable recovery.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Mr Gove insisted the handling of the pandemic so far showed the benefit of a four-nation approach.

The union summit will take place today between Boris Johnson and the leaders of the devolved administrations.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said: “I am delighted that the leaders of the devolved administrations all responded positively to the Prime Minister’s invitation to join this important meeting on Covid recovery.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked together to stop the spread of the virus and to roll out life-saving vaccines.

“Our joint success has shown the world what we can achieve as a United Kingdom

“We must take the same approach to the difficult challenge of rebuilding our economy and public services from the damaging impact of Covid-19.

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“It will not be a quick or easy job, but we will all do better if we face the challenge together.”

The Prime Minister had called the meeting with the devolved leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland after last month’s elections and said the UK was “best served when we work together”.

Taking place virtually, it will be chaired by Mr Johnson and also include the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales from the UK Government.

The First Ministers and Deputy First Ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also expected to attend the meeting.

Originally scheduled for May, Downing Street then claimed the “Union summit was delayed by the Scottish Government”, who in turn said its UK counterpart had not “remotely prepared” for the meeting and were instead due to hold what they dubbed a “PR exercise without proper substance”.

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