Boris Johnson in Scotland: why is the PM visiting Scotland, where will he go - and why has he refused to meet Nicola Sturgeon?

Boris Johnson is currently on a two-day visit to Scotland, returning to the country for the first time since January - but he won’t be meeting the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon welcomes Boris Johnson to Bute House in Edinburgh during a previous visit in 2019 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Nicola Sturgeon welcomes Boris Johnson to Bute House in Edinburgh during a previous visit in 2019 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Nicola Sturgeon welcomes Boris Johnson to Bute House in Edinburgh during a previous visit in 2019 (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Prime Minister’s visit to Scotland is his first since the Holyrood elections in May, which saw the SNP win its fourth consecutive term in government.

Why is the PM visiting Scotland this week?

During his trip Boris Johnson will be visiting renewable power projects and promoting the COP26 global climate conference which is set to take place in Glasgow later this year.

Additionally the PM is expected to be meeting members of the Police Service of Scotland.

Mr Johnson noticeably kept his distance from Scotland during the election campaign.

Where will he go?

Mr Johnson’s schedule has not been announced by Downing Street due to security reasons, so his itinerary remains uncertain.

He has also not scheduled any press conferences with local media, but, going by his recent trips around the UK, he is likely to release a broadcast clip at some point.

What is Operation Bunter?

Scottish police bosses got themselves in hot water before the Prime Minister’s even visit began, due to the randomly selected codename for the operation to ensure the PM’s safety.

The codename given was Operation Bunter, which led bosses to worry that the name may be perceived as a quip referencing a fictional private school boy from the boys' weekly story paper The Magnet from the early 20th century.

Billy Bunter is a character created by author Charles Hamilton who is depicted as upper class, overweight and obnoxious.

To avoid any unintentional offence, the codename was removed.

Why has he refused to meet Nicola Sturgeon?

Ahead of Mr Johnson’s visit to Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon extended an invitation for the PM to come to Edinburgh to discuss how the two governments can collaborate over Covid recovery plans.

Sharing her letter to Mr Johnson on Twitter, Ms Sturgeon said: “I understand you will be in Scotland later this week and thought this might offer us an opportunity to meet in person in Edinburgh for a discussion on the current Covid situation and our respective plans for recovery”.

However, in a reply to the First Minister, Boris Johnson mentioned that he looked forward to meeting Ms Sturgeon soon but did not include any details about visiting her during his current visit.

In his letter the PM agreed that there was much to discuss surrounding Covid recovery and also included his keenness to converse about the autumn vaccination booster campaign.

He said: “There is much for us to discuss as all parts of the UK work together on our shared priority of recovering from the pandemic. I understand our officials have made good progress on the details of this since we last spoke. I am particularly keen that we work closely together on the vaccination booster campaign this autumn which will be crucial as we continue to tackle the pandemic.”

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