Theresa May will no longer meet Nicola Sturgeon one-on-one

Nicola Sturgeon will no longer be granted personal meetings with the Prime Minister as part of a Conservative bid to downgrade the status of the office of First Minister.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had held one on one meetings with meets Prime Minister Theresa May at Bute House (pictured) and Downing St. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had held one on one meetings with meets Prime Minister Theresa May at Bute House (pictured) and Downing St. Picture; Steven Scott Taylor

The new approach means the SNP leader will instead be referred to Scottish Secretary David Mundell as Theresa May’s team believe “he is at the same level as her”.

It marks a dramatic shift in the relatioship between the two. The First Minister was first party leader to meet the Prime Minister days after May entered Downing Street in 2016.

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Nicola Sturgeon tells EU negotiator Scots fear "extreme Brexit"
The move is a significant change in policy from Theresa May. Picture; PA

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Speaking to the Scottish Daily Mail a Tory minister said: “She will no longer get the same access to the Prime Minister. She should be meeting David Mundell because he is at the same level as her.”

Downing Street said it did not recognise the comments. A UK Government spokeswoman said: “We are absolutely committed to engaging with the Scottish Government and will continue to do so on all levels.

“The level of engagement over recent months has been unprecedented, including numerous meetings and calls between ministers and officials.

“Yesterday’s City Deal is an example of how we will continue to work constructively together.”

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The move is a significant change in policy from Theresa May. Picture; PA

It comes as Brexit negotiations get underway with Conservative officials indicating that it is likely that the First Minister would want more meetings to discuss Scotland’s role.

However, it has been reported that the Government intends to offer weekly meetings for Miss Sturgeon and her Brexit Minister Michael Russell with Mr Mundell and new Scotland Office Minister Lord Ian Duncan.

Some meetings may be hosted by the Prime Minister but no one on one meetings will take place in a major change in approach.

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Speaking in July on a visit to Edinburgh, Theresa May stated that the UK government would be ‘fully engaging with the Scottish Government in the forthcoming negotiations about the UK’s exit from the European Union’.

Following the visit it is understood that some senior party figures believed such a policy towards the Scottish Government made Miss Sturgeon look like an international dignitary rather than a leader of a devolved nation.

Following the move, A Scottish Government source was quoted as saying: “Theresa May is a badly weakened PM, but it speaks volumes if she now doesn’t feel confident enough to meet the First Minister.

“And David Mundell’s credibility is in tatters after his failure to stand up for Scotland over the Tories’ grubby deal with the DUP.”