Elections launch

Sturgeon accused of hiding from press scrutiny

Nicola Sturgeon pensive
Nicola Sturgeon: won’t face press (pic: Terry Murden)

Nicola Sturgeon was today accused of hiding from media scrutiny after the SNP leader banned print journalists from the launch of her party’s manifesto for the local elections.

Only the BBC and STV were given invitations to a photo-opportunity in Glasgow today where Ms Sturgeon was expected to say families are facing “a Tory-made cost of living crisis”.

The SNP said it was “not a typical launch event” and that other opportunities would arise for journalists to attend.

However, opposition parties accused Ms Sturgeon of avoiding difficult questions on a number of issues, including the Clyde ferries fiasco and claims that the SNP was responsible for cutting council budgets.

It is the third time in recent weeks that the SNP has banned the press from physically attending launch events. Business leaders were invited to the launch of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation at the Michelin Innovation Parc in Dundee, and to the National Economic Forum in Edinburgh, but media were only allowed online access to both events.

Speaking about the lack of press at the council elections launch, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “This is a remarkable display of both arrogance and cowardice from the First Minister. It feels more like the scrutiny dodging antics of Donald Trump than the actions of a leader at ease with her government’s record.

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“Then again if I had spent five years cutting local authority budgets then perhaps I wouldn’t want to face media scrutiny either.”

Miles Briggs, local government spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives, said Ms Sturgeon’s attacks on the Tories were a “broken record”.

He added: “If she wants to know who’s to blame for the £251m cuts facing councils across Scotland she should look in the mirror.

“It shows how out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is that she won’t even allow the press along to the SNP’s campaign launch to question her on these absurd comments.”

Neil Bibby, the Scottish Labour business manager, said: “It’s no wonder Nicola Sturgeon is trying to dodge scrutiny while she bungles her response to the worst cost of living crisis in decades.

“It is utterly shameless for the SNP to talk about the cost of living crisis while they refuse to use the litany of powers at their disposal to help Scots.

“The truth is they don’t want to be asked any questions because they don’t have any answers.

“We deserve transparency and openness from our politicians, and we need real solutions to the cost of living crisis.”

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