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UK government insists COP26 will be held in Glasgow

The UK government has insisted that the COP26 climate conference will be held in Glasgow in November – amid claims that the event could be moved to London.

The UK government “opened talks” with ExCeL London as a “fallback option” to stage the crucial international climate change summit, according to the Financial Times. But Downing Street said the talks were merely standard “contingency planning”.

Speaking to the BBC, a UK government spokesman said: “COP will be in Glasgow”, adding that planning for the UN summit was “well under way”, and that the UK and Scottish governments were committed to making it a success.

Glasgow is set to welcome 30,000 delegates, including 200 world leaders, to discuss the climate change emergency at the conference in November.

However, there have been claims of clashes over planning between the UK and Scottish governments, as well as concerns about rising costs.

Former minister Claire O’Neill, who was sacked last month as president of the talks, sparked speculation that COP26 could be moved when she said she had been told that the government was considering relocating the conference to London – claims that were denied by Number 10.

She also claimed that Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon had been denied an official role in the summit “heartily and saltily” by prime minister Boris Johnson, as well as accusing the Scottish government of acting “disgracefully”.

The presidency of the summit is still unfilled following O’Neill’s sacking, with former prime minister David Cameron having turned down the role.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon and UK cabinet minister Michael Gove appeared together at an event in London to play down the rumours of a rift between the two governments.

Sturgeon said she was committed to working “closely and constructively” with the UK government, while Gove insisted that the UK and Scottish governments were getting on “very well” ahead of the conference.