THE mascot for Glasgow’s upcoming UN climate summit has been unveiled by the city’s council – prompting criticism from UK Government officials.

In the spirit of the COP26 talks, Bonnie the Seal has been recycled from the 2018 European Championships – with the mascot kitted out in a new blue and green outfit.

The cheerleading costume features the COP26 logo, and is complete with a little hat reading “Glasgow”. The council says that by bringing back the “well established and popular” Bonnie, it has the “benefit of being a strong sustainability message in itself”.

Despite the Westminster government having funded and “signed off” on the £1600 design, according to Glasgow City Council, insiders were quick to tell The Telegraph of their distaste for Bonnie.

Glasgow Times:

One Whitehall source said Bonnie was “king of the Glasgow rats”, referencing recent reports of pest problems in Scotland’s largest city.

Union figures have warned that rats are “absolutely everywhere” in Glasgow, but council leader Susan Aitken insisted at yesterday’s Scottish Affairs Committee meeting that the city is not “uniquely dirty”.

The councillor said other cities, like Edinburgh and London, are also having difficulties with rubbish and rats.

Asked about incidents of rats coming into contact with cleansing staff, Aitken said there were only one or two incidents of that happening – adding the employees had been taken into hospital as a precaution.

Other UK Government figures claimed Bonnie was “very much” the council’s project and insisted she wouldn’t be appearing inside the UN’s actual climate talks, and will instead only be hanging out around the publicly accessible “green zone” over the next few weeks.

Speaking yesterday, Aitken said that Glasgow is ready for the global climate summit – with some “caveats”.

She told the committee that 12,000 additional hours have been worked to clean Glasgow ahead of Cop26, with 150 new rubbish bins deployed across the city.

She added: “According to Keep Scotland Beautiful, Edinburgh was actually worse impacted by these (rubbish) issues during the pandemic, but I don’t recall anyone saying ‘Edinburgh should be embarrassed about having the festival’.

Glasgow Times:

“We are – as are other cities globally – working to address the very serious challenges and impacts that were caused by the pandemic, but we were never going to be able to recover overnight from the impact on our services on the city.

“I believe we are making considerable progress, we’re working round the clock to address those issues – particularly in the Cop26 zones in the city – but actually right across the city.

“Our services are not just for VIPs coming to Glasgow, we’re not working to have our services recover from that impact of Covid just because Joe Biden’s coming to town; we’re doing it for our citizens because, actually, our services are for them, first and foremost.

“So no, I’m not embarrassed. I’m confident that the visitors coming to Glasgow will see – as they always see – an incredibly vibrant, diverse, and welcoming urban space.”

Asked about the state of Glasgow as it prepares to host Cop26 from Sunday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I think there are challenges in Glasgow and challenges in cities across Scotland, the UK, the world – some of them related to Covid, some of them more fundamental than that.

Glasgow Times:

“I’m not going to stand here and say they don’t exist in Glasgow.

“I think Glasgow is ready for Cop26.

“Glasgow – as it has been with big events in past years – will be an excellent host for Cop26, and that’s important.

“But – as all countries do – we have challenges in our public services and how we make sure they’re delivering in the post-Covid era.”