NICOLA Sturgeon hopes the United States can “retake that important position of leadership” on the biggest issues facing the planet as votes continue to be counted to elect the next president.

The First Minister was speaking after discussions with leaders at the British and Irish Council.

President Trump is currently trailing Joe Biden who is ahead in key states but some votes are yet to be counted.

Ms Sturgeon was asked what impact a Joe Biden presidency would have on the world, particularly as the Covid-19 crisis continues.

She said: “The world desperately needs, in my view, American leadership that will show leadership on the big challenges of our time – on climate change, on continuing to steer out countries and our world though the Covid crisis.

“I think America needs leadership that clearly, visibly and explicitly respects and upholds the tenants and the norms of democracy.”

She added: “The votes are still being counted. I’m not sure anybody would be greatly surprised to hear my preference for how the final votes will fall. I look forward to seeing the outcome as soon as possible.

“I hope the outcome of the election does see the United States of America retake that important position of leadership on these big issues.”

President Trump, who previously contracted the virus, has repeatedly diminished the seriousness of the virus and has been criticised for his laid-back approach to public health during the pandemic.

READ MORE: US election 2020: Joe Biden on brink of victory with just one key state needed

Earlier this week, the United States became the first country to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.

President Trump announced in June 2017 that the United States would pull out of the international agreement, but UN regulations meant the decision only took affect this week.

If Mr Biden becomes the next president of the United States, he could start a process for the US rejoining the agreement.

The UK Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Micahel Gove, said: “Ireland and the United Kingdom have a strong and deep and important relationship with our friends and cousins in America.

“Whoever is American president, it’s important that we work well with them and I wish both candidates well.”


Ms Sturgeon said she listened to President Trump’s remarks earlier in the week where he faslsely claimed he had won the election with “a sense of foreboding and discomfort at what appeared to be the denial of basic democratic norms”. 

She added: “In any democracy, it’s vital that votes are counted and the outcomes are respected. It doesn’t mean that the participants give up their views and we don’t go on to have healthy democratic arguments.  

“In a democracy power lies with people, not with politicians. I think it’s important for all of us as politicians to remind ourselves of that.” 

The First Minister was also asked about the “ability to spread misinformation” by politicians around elections and global efforts to suppress the Covid-19 pandemic. 

She said: “Lots of people have to be part of that – social media companies, law enforcement agencies, political parties – we all have to be part of making sure we have a healthy, vibrant democracy where we have a robust exchange of views.  

“Misinformation, when it’s about things that don’t really matter, might be one thing. When you’ve got the ability to spread misinformation on something as important as a global pandemic, you really do see that in some circumstances, lives depend on that.  

“It really is a sharp reminder for the whole world of the importance of some of these issues.”