LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer is heading on a two-day campaign visit to Scotland with plans to attack the SNP government on climate issues.

Both Boris Johnson and the leader of the opposition will be in Scotland this week as the major November COP26 climate summit nears.

Speaking to the Daily Record before his trip, Starmer accused the SNP of a “huge failure on the climate crisis”.

After Johnson snubbed an invitation to meet with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House, Starmer said he would work with her – but ruled out any future election arrangement with her party.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson in Scotland: PM 'quite right' to reject Nicola Sturgeon meet

“Look, I will meet Nicola Sturgeon, if she wants to, to talk through the challenges of the day,” he told the newspaper. “But on the constitution, going into the Scottish election and since the election, we’ve been absolutely clear that the focus right now is on the recovery and on the climate challenge.”

He went on: “We haven’t finished dealing with this pandemic. Many times in the last twelve months we’ve thought we’re coming out the back of it, only to find that there are rises in infections. We’ve got to finish rolling out the vaccinations and then look to the recovery side. So any conversation has to start there, not on the constitutional issue.”

His comments came as sources reported that talks for a co-operation agreement between the SNP and Greens are 95% done, and details could come out as soon as this week. Between them the parties have 72 MSPs and both support holding an independence referendum in this parliamentary term.

The National:

Ahead of his visit, Starmer also attacked the SNP on their “progressive” credentials. “A test of how progressive you are is what you’re doing on climate change and they’ve manifestly failed on that. The SNP has failed to live up to the promises it made the people of Scotland.”

In June the Scottish Government missed out on its annual greenhouse gas reduction target, with 2019 figures putting emissions at 51.5% lower than 1990 baseline levels – the target was 55%.

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Head of policy for WWF Scotland, Fabrice Leveque, said there has been positive progress in key sectors but noted that the pace of change had fallen short.

At the same time, it emerged that Scotland had generated 97.4% of its electricity demand from renewable sources during 2020 – slightly short of its 100% target. Renewables output has tripled in the last 10 years.

Starmer’s own climate approach has come under fire in recent months, too. On an April visit to Scotland – during Anas Sarwar’s “Green Labour” push – he opted to fly rather than using a more eco-friendly form of transport.

Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie commented at the time: “Last week they were trying to pass themselves off as 'Green Labour'. This week, they don't seem to know there's a train from London to Edinburgh.

“Want Green? Vote Green. Vote like our future depends on it!”

Starmer is set to visit Glasgow today to discuss climate matters with young Scots, and will also be meeting with Scottish Labour leader Sarwar.