NICOLA Sturgeon has accused Boris Johnson of "playing politics with the biggest issue of our time," following reports the Tories were ready to move COP26 away from Glasgow and relocate it to London.

UK Government sources said that while ministers remain “pretty committed” to staging the mass event in Scotland, they were in talks with the ExCel in London.

It comes amid claims of spiralling costs and a bristling Tory civil war, and bruising political rows with the Scottish Government.

READ MORE: UK Government in talks to TAKE crucial COP26 from Scotland

Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman claimed SNP ministers needed “work with” the UK Government “to ensure it’s a successful summit".

Nicola Sturgeon described the comment as “silly”.

She tweeted: “I’ve made crystal clear @scotgov commitment to making #COP26 a success and offered PM additional input from us – he hasn’t yet responded. If he insists on playing politics it will be on him, not me.”

When a journalist tweeted that a “row was brewing”, the First Minister hit back, writing: “It’s not a row. It’s a PM playing politics with the biggest issue of our time – he should be called out on it, not indulged.”

According to the Financial Times, officials from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have opened talks with the ExCel London conference venue in East London.

An unnamed source played down the prospects of moving the venue, arguing that the London venue was being scoped out as a "fallback option".

"It's normal for an event of this magnitude to have contingency measures," they told the paper. "We are pretty committed to Scotland."

READ MORE: 'UK Government more interested in Union flags than COP26'

The organisation of the summit is in chaos. It’s still lacking a president nearly two weeks after the sacking of Claire O'Neill. She initially claimed the Government was considering relocating the venue to England, warning that the budget for the Glasgow Summit was climbing fast.

There has been a clash too over the use of the Glasgow Science Centre. The Scottish Government – after first checking with the UK Government – booked up the boffin fun centre on the bank of Clyde, opposite the SEC which is hosting the summit.

However, organisers soon realised that they didn’t have enough space and demanded the Scottish Government relinquish the science centre.

At the same time competition for hotel rooms and meeting spaces in the city is intensifying, as thousands of officials, journalists, and campaigners attempt to book up rooms for the fortnight duration of the Summit.

On Tuesday, both the Scottish and the Westminster governments sought to downplay the row and stress their commitment to delivering a successful Summit.

Speaking at a conference on the Countdown to COP26, hosted by think tank Green Alliance, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said the two governments were prepared to look past their political differences to deliver a successful Summit.

Later in the day, Sturgeon struck a similarly conciliatory tone, calling for an end to the "squabbles" that have marred the preparations to date.

"I personally and my government are committed absolutely and unequivocally to working closely and constructively with the UK government, and with other partners, in preparing for COP26 – preparing logistically but also preparing logistically," she said at an event organised by Green Alliance on the Countdown to COP26.

"It's vital that COP is a success. It's a massive opportunity. We have a duty to do everything we can to make it a success.

"That's certainly Scotland's interest, but it is in the interests of the UK as a whole – and most importantly of all it's in the interest of the planet."

Gove has been widely tipped for the job of President, but asked yesterday if he would like the role, he said: "I am very happy with the job that I have and I think there are many, many, many, many talented people who could do the job of COP President better than I could".