Welsh and Scottish First Ministers write to Boris Johnson calling for clarity around proposed UK covid recovery summit

Mark Drakeford has written to the Prime Minister alongside Nicola Sturgeon calling for more clarity around a proposed UK summit and said it should be a meaningful discussion and not a "PR exercise" Credit: PA Images

First Minister Mark Drakeford has written a joint letter, alongside Scotland's leader Nicola Sturgeon, to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on the proposed coronavirus recovery summit to be a "meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes".

Shortly after their election victories, the UK Prime Minister wrote to both leaders to invite them to a summit discussing how "Team UK" could work together to chart a course back to recovery after the pandemic.

Now, Mark Drakeford and Nicola Sturgeon are asking the Prime Minister for more clarity and substance around the proposal which would bring the four UK nations together on Thursday.

In the letter, copied to Northern Ireland's political leaders Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill, the pair criticise Mr Johnson's office for sending "a very rough proposed agenda" with key issues in the discussions seemingly yet to be agreed.

They also make a case for "further discussion" to take place ahead of the summit which would see such an event delayed, but still have it take place "perhaps as early as next week".

The Prime Minister wrote to Mark Drakeford shortly after his election victory to congratulate him and invite him to a UK summit Credit: PA Images

The letter states: "We are writing about the proposed 4-nations summit on Covid recovery, which you have suggested should take place this Thursday afternoon.

"We are both deeply committed to taking part in such a summit and to working appropriately together on Covid Recovery - but, as we are sure you do, we want the meeting to be a meaningful discussion with substantive outcomes, and not just a PR exercise.

"Our view is that this will be best achieved if further detailed preparation is done in advance.

"In particular, we would propose early discussion to reach agreement on the following -

"1. A detailed agenda. Your office sent a very rough proposed agenda only yesterday morning and our view is that further work is needed to agree key issues for discussion and any supporting papers to be prepared;

"2. What outcomes/further process we are seeking to achieve as a result of the summit discussion.

"Further discussion between our officials, leading to the summit taking place on an agreed date, perhaps as early as next week, would allow for a much more meaningful exercise, and avoid the risk of it being just a PR or box-ticking exercise.

"We are sure that is what we all want."

The Prime Minister said he felt the UK's response to coronavirus had been most effective when it was a co-ordinated effort, saying that the vaccination rollout was a "clear demonstration" of what could be achieved.