THE First Minister's office has blamed Boris Johnson for creating the toxic political atmosphere around this year’s UN climate change summit in Glasgow.

Nicola Sturgeon’s official spokesman said the Prime Minister had "set the tone" when he told Tory activists he didn’t want Ms Sturgeon “anywhere near” COP26 this November.

Mr Johnson made the remark to a gathering of Scottish activists at the Tory conference in Manchester last year, telling them: “The leaders of the entire world will come to Glasgow for the COP26 climate change summit.

“I guess I don’t mind seeing a Saltire or two on that summit but I want to see a union flag - I don’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it.

“The Scottish Nationalist Party didn’t secure that summit in Glasgow, it was the United Kingdom government.”

With relations between Edinburgh and London now deteriorating over disputed venues and policing costs for the summit - which is vital to tackling the climate crisis - Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman cited the remark in a media briefing after the Scottish cabinet.

He said: “The Prime Minister set the tone on this whole debate in the rather heady atmosphere of a Tory party conference fringe saying he didn’t want the First Minister anywhere near this.

“That is the basis on which some of this has gone forward, and that is deeply, deeply unfortunate. It’s not the way we’re briefing, It’s not what we’re talking about.

“We’re getting on with the job of trying to ensure that Glasgow, as a Scottish host city, hosts a successful summit, a successful conference. That’s what we’ll continue to do.

“But I think it’s worth putting on the record that is the basis on which some of this has been taken forward.

“This globally significant event should take precedence over anyone’s personality.”

The Scottish and UK Governments are currently in dispute over who uses the Glasgow Science Centre for the two-week event on the Clyde.

The Scottish Government says it booked it as its own conference “hub” after the UK Government had booked its own venues near the SEC campus.

However the COP Secretariat organising the summit later pointed out the centre was within the secure zone and would be needed for the event itself

Claire O’Neill, who was sacked as the UK lead on the summit by Mr Johnson, claimed the Scottish Government had “behaved disgracefully” by contracting buildings in the COP site that should be made available to the conference.

She said there was “a complete stand-off” between Edinburgh and London over the issue.

Speaking on Radio 4 this morning, she also suggested Mr Johnson’s personal animosity towards Ms Sturgeon was causing problems, when cooperation was needed.

She said: “I did suggest that we give Nicola Sturgeon a job and that she be involved in this which the Prime Minister heartily and saltily rebutted.”

UK cabinet minister Michael Gove has written to SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay on the Science centre, but the row has not been resolved.

The Scottish Government says it is open to discussion, but also that it is reasonable for it to use the science centre as a hub near the summit.

Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman said Ms O’Neill was “wrong” to blame the Scottish Government for behaving disgracefully and playground politics.

He said: “The booking for the Glasgow Science Centre, as I understand it, was made after the UK Government had already indicated what facilities and buildings it wanted for COP26.

“The Scottish Government, not unreasonably, wants to have a base or hub of its own.

“Subsequent to the UK already booking and saying what it wanted it terms of buildings, logistics etc around the COP26 campus, the Scottish Government booked the science centre.

“If people are now saying they want access to  or use of the science centre during the conference, of course we’re happy to continue discussions with the UK Government and with the COP26 secretariat.

“We are absolutely committed and determined to having a successful COP26 in Glasgow. “We are continuing to have discussions to ensure we play our role in that.

“It should be above and beyond party politics”

A UK Government source said: "Thus far the Scottish Government have not proved themselves to be easy or collaborative partners.

“The UK Government is determined to deliver a successful COP26 in Glasgow but Scottish Government need to become team players."