NICOLA Sturgeon has hit back amid reports Downing Street wants to cut her out of the COP26 summit to stop it being used as "an advert for an independence campaign”.

According to leaked messages seen by the Independent, advisers from No 10 and the Cabinet Office want to sideline the SNP leader at the UN climate conference, which is being held in Glasgow.

Meeting notes and WhatsApp messages show strategists have been trying to work out how to prevent COP26 from becoming an "advert" for Scottish independence.

Sturgeon fired back on social media, tweeting: "All that matters is that COP26 delivers an outcome to meet the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees.

"We must work together and maximise contributions towards that.

"Anyone – me or PM – who allowed politics to get in way would be abdicating that responsibility."

Global leaders will descend on Glasgow – which is home to the FM’s constituency – for two weeks from October 31.

But the leaked messages suggest advisers are planning to keep Boris Johnson from sharing a platform with Sturgeon in the run-up to and during the event.

The Prime Minister should "neutralise" the First Minster by including other devolved leaders where possible, they said.

READ MORE: COP26: Is Glasgow ready to host the UK's biggest ever climate summit?

One adviser's message referring to Sturgeon read: "This can be labelled as a role for her [as one of the UK's leaders] but avoids her taking centre stage."

Another said: "We can't let this be used as an advert for an independence campaign."

The notes also document efforts to ensure that the Union flag is displayed as much as possible at the summit.

A UK Government spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has been clear that there is a role for all the First Ministers from across the UK at COP26 and we are working together with the Scottish Government to ensure this crucial summit is a success."

The National: First Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomes Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside Bute House in Edinburgh ahead of their meeting in July, 2019 Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Last month, during a visit to Scotland, Johnson U-turned on claims that the First Minister shouldn’t be “anywhere near” the upcoming UN climate conference.

Shortly after becoming Tory leader in 2019, he told party members: "I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We make sure – with every policy we pursue, with every investment we make in Scotland, then we put a Union flag on it.

“For instance, the COP26 climate change summit that’s going to be held ... the leaders of the entire world will come to Glasgow.

"I guess I don’t mind seeing a Saltire or two on that summit, but I want to see a Union flag – I don’t want to see Nicola Sturgeon anywhere near it."

The First Minister’s spokesman said at the time that people would be “deeply embarrassed” to hear the PM speak “so childishly”.

Pressed about those comments last month, Johnson told BBC Scotland: "Well of course there’s going to be a role for Nicola, for Mark Drakeford, for everybody in the COP26."