THE Tories could be set to take the COP26 climate change summit 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, a bristling Tory civil war over the event, and bruising political rows with the Scottish Government.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman claimed SNP ministers needed to “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.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon slams Boris Johnson over plan to move COP26

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 conference venue in East London.

An unnamed source said the London venue was only 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.”

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.

That was denied by Number 10.

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 hugely popular museum on the banks of Clyde opposite the SEC which is hosting the summit.

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

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” she said at the event organised by the Green Alliance.

“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 in 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 sidestepped the question.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Success of COP26 is vital for the climate

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”.

Glasgow’s Green MSP, Patrick Harvie said the city had the infrastructure to host summit.

He added: “We also have many people keen to challenge the UK and Scottish Government on their lack of action tackling the climate emergency. Glasgow has a fantastic opportunity to use the platform to be heard.

“The UK Government has already left the world wondering if it is serious about this conference. They’ve sacked the person in charge, they’ve shown more interest in Union flags and provoking a spat with the Scottish Government, and they have shown none of the leadership that’s needed.

“If they now can’t even decide which venue to book, they will lose any remaining shred of credibility.

“They should confirm Glasgow as the venue, appoint a genuine climate leader to chair the conference, and then start the urgent job of building support for the radical change of direction that the climate emergency demands.”

Meanwhile, the LibDems have called for a cross-party committee of MPs, green campaigning groups, business leaders and climate experts to be formed to help get the Government get the talks back on track.

In a speech today. the acting leader of the LibDems in Westminster, Sir Ed Davey, is expected to say the organisation so far has been “shambolic”.

“Insiders are tearing their hair out.”