Thu, 17 Jun 2021

LONDON, May 9 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has invited the leaders of the devolved nations to a summit on how "Team UK" can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported Sunday.

The latest development came after Scotland's First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday pledged to push for a second independence referendum as her party secured "historic and extraordinary" fourth consecutive victory in the Scottish parliamentary election.

Johnson's invitation came also after the main opposition Labour Party's win in the Welsh Parliament during Thursday's election.

After his reelection, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford called on Johnson to "reset relationships" with the devolved nations.

The prime minister congratulated Sturgeon and Drakeford on their re-elections and invited them to a meeting to discuss such shared challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic and how to overcome them, according to the BBC.

Johnson has telephoned Drakeford on Saturday and will later speak to Sturgeon, who has already confirmed she will attend the summit, said the BBC.

Johnson will be sending a similar letter to Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers, according to Sky News.

"I believe passionately that the interests of people across the UK... are best served when we work together," Johnson said.

Sturgeon has said the result of the election meant there was "no democratic justification whatsoever for Boris Johnson or anyone else seeking to block the right of the people of Scotland to choose our future."

She insisted that holding a referendum was now "the will of the country."

Johnson has told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that it would be "reckless and irresponsible" for Scotland to hold a referendum right now.

"I don't think this is anything like the time to have more constitutional wrangling, to be talking about ripping our country apart, when actually people want to heal our economy and bounce forward together. That's what people want," he said.

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