BORIS Johnson has invited Nicola Sturgeon to a summit of the four nations of the UK following her party's victory at the Scottish elections.

The SNP came one seat shy of a majority in Holyrood, securing 64 seats. 

Despite her party saying the election of a pro-independence majority of MSPs, which includes the Greens' eight seats, acts as a mandate for another referendum, the Prime Minsiter has said it would be "irresponsible and reckless".

READ MORE: In full: Boris Johnson's letter to Nicola Sturgeon

This afternoon he wrote to the First Minister, congratulating her on the election and saying the best way to serve the people of Scotland is by working "cooperatively", adding the country is “best served when we work together”.

READ MORE: Johnson not budging from IndyRef stance despite likely pro-independence majority in Holyrood

He wrote: "I believe passionately that the interests of people across the UK and in particular the people of Scotland are best served when we work together.

"The UK Government’s ability to procure vaccines at scale has benefited people in all parts of our country.

"The dedicated and hardworking staff of NHS Scotland have ensured jabs have been put into arms from Gretna to John o’ Groats.

"This is Team UK in action, and I recommit the United Kingdom Government to working with the Scottish Government in this cooperative spirit."

The Prime Minister warned that the “damage runs deep” from the pandemic, and said: “Covid-19 has also posed significant challenges for our public services, from hours of lost school learning, to backlogs in the NHS and courts.

"Overcoming them will require us to show the same spirit of unity and cooperation that marked our fight against the pandemic.” 

READ MORE: Voters split over mandate definition for second referendum

He invited the First Minister to a four nations summit, alongside the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and Northern Ireland’s leader who is yet to be selected.

Mr Johnson said the meeting’s purpose was to  “discuss our shared challenges and how we can work together in the coming months and years to overcome them”.

Andrew Bowie, the Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, told The Herald the PM was “absolutely right” to say there should not be another referendum. 

He accused the SNP  of shifting the goalposts, and added: “At the beginning of this election, the SNP said multiple times ‘Scottish National Party majority’.

"People know they are the party to vote for if you want independence. They didn’t get the majority, therefore, they do not have a mandate and the Prime Minister is absolutely right to say now is not the time, you don’t have a mandate, let’s focus on other things." 

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted her party's success at the election, and the pro-independence majority of MSPs now returning to Holyrood, was a mandate for a vote on the constitution.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Indyref2 'a fundamental democratic principle'

She said it was the "will of the country", adding: "The people in Scotland must have the right to decide our own future when the Covid crisis has passed.

"The SNP and Scottish Greens both stood on a clear commitment to an independence referendum within the next parliamentary term."