RISHI Sunak has met Nicola Sturgeon face-to-face for the first time since he was appointed Prime Minister.

The meeting, during the British-Irish Council summit taking place in Blackpool, Lancashire, was also attended by Wales’s First Minister Mark Drakeford and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, appearing via video link.

Michael Gove, Minister for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, was also present.

Sunak is taking a more proactive approach than his predecessor in communicating with leaders of devolved nations.

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The FM previously revealed that Liz Truss did not call her once during her 49 days in office as Prime Minister, while Sunak made a call to Sturgeon on his first day in the job. 

It comes as former Scottish Secretary David Mundell said there will be "no substantive" change in policy towards devolved nations under Sunak, but suggested there may be a more "positive approach". 

Mundell told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “I don’t think that there’ll be a substantive change from the (Boris Johnson) era.

The National: The FM met with Gove and Sunak while Hunt and Drakeford joined the meeting via videolinkThe FM met with Gove and Sunak while Hunt and Drakeford joined the meeting via videolink (Image: Getty)

“The general approach previously, which was I think a constructive one on issues where there was agreement, obviously particularly in relation to Scotland, where there isn’t agreement on the constitutional future, that that position will remain unchanged.

“But I think Rishi Sunak has obviously demonstrated he wants to reach out, he wants to have a dialogue, he wants to do business where that can be done.

“I think that’s a positive approach.”

Asked by LBC about her meeting with Sunak, Sturgeon said: "It was a cordial and constructive meeting.

"I think both of us want to try as hard as we can to build a good constructive working relationship. We've got deep political disagreements. I think we can all take that as read. But we've also got an obligation to work together in the interests of the people we serve.

"So I'm certainly keen to build that kind of relationship he says he is too so hopefully we'll see that translate from rhetoric into reality. 
There's been in recent years, not just for the Scottish Government, but I think all of the devolved governments, a real lack of respect on the part of the UK Government.

"And if we are to reset and do things differently, it will require change in substance not just change in words."

Sturgeon said she raised the issue of a second referendum while talking to the PM.

She said: "I made clear that I have an electoral mandate to offer the people in Scotland a choice in our future and he has said a lot I agree with as it happens about the importance of electoral mandates in his own context.

"But I also said I intend to honour that mandate, with or without the UK Government’s agreement, albeit entirely, constitutionally and legally but the right thing to do would be for the two governments to sit down and agree a process that let’s the Scottish people decide and so

"I made it clear to him if he's willing to do that, then I will have that discussion with him."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister and Prime Minister had a constructive and cordial discussion during their bilateral meeting in Blackpool and the inaugural meeting of the Devolved Governments’ Council, ahead of the 38th British-Irish Council tomorrow.

“The two leaders discussed a range of topics, including the need to work together on the cost of living crisis. Ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement the First Minister emphasised the need for benefits to rise in line with inflation to support the most vulnerable and for substantial additional investment to be made by the Chancellor in the Health Service.

“Given the extreme pressure being faced by public services like the NHS, the First Minister said additional funding for devolved governments was urgently needed to support people, services, and fair public sector pay uplifts, following the double-digit inflation that has eroded the Scottish Government’s budget since its allocation last year when inflation was at 3%.

“The First Minister made clear she intends to honour the manifesto commitment and the electoral mandate for an independence referendum and that the Scottish Government remains ready and willing to negotiate a process to enable that to happen.”