Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of dodging scrutiny and compared to Donald Trump over a decision to ban newspaper journalists from the SNP's local election campaign launch
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‘A remarkable display of both arrogance and cowardice’: Nicola Sturgeon is compared to Donald Trump as she BANS reporters from SNP’s local election campaign launch

  • The Scottish First Minister is accused of dodging scrutiny by barring the Press 
  • Ths SNP blocks newspaper journalists from local election event in Glasgow
  • Ms Sturgeon set to attack Boris Johnson’s Tories over cost-of-living crisis

Nicola Sturgeon’s local election campaign launch threatened to fall flat today as she was accused of dodging scrutiny by banning the Press from the event.

The First Minister was compared to Donald Trump after newspaper journalists were blocked from today’s event in Glasgow.

Such a comparison will prove uncomfortable for Ms Sturgeon, who was a fierce critic of the former US president during his time in office. 

The SNP is the only Scottish party to impose a ‘Press blackout’ at a formal local election campaign launch event.

It means Ms Sturgeon was not set to face questions on her policies, with journalists instead expected to rely on soundbites issued by her spin doctors.

It was briefed that the First Minister was due to use the campaign launch to attack Boris Johnson’s Conservatives over the cost-of-living crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of dodging scrutiny and compared to Donald Trump over a decision to ban newspaper journalists from the SNP's local election campaign launch

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of dodging scrutiny and compared to Donald Trump over a decision to ban newspaper journalists from the SNP’s local election campaign launch

Scottish Tory local government spokesman Miles Briggs said: ‘It’s disgraceful that Nicola Sturgeon has imposed a Press blackout at the launch.

‘She seems to think she and her party are above scrutiny. Sorry, but that’s not how democracy works.

‘The First Minister may not like it but accountability goes with the territory. She needs to front up and answer questions on her government’s brutal cuts to local councils.’

Scottish Lib Dem 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.

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

The SNP press office issued quotes from Ms Sturgeon ahead of today’s event, which it described as the launch of the party’s local election campaign.

But when the Scottish Daily Mail asked to attend, a party official said they were launching the campaign with a ‘cost of living visit’ rather than a typical launch event, adding: ‘It’ll be in Glasgow and numbers are limited.

‘We’ll have visits throughout the campaign and publications will have the opportunity to ask questions of the party leader, as well as the usual channels via SNP Media.’

Despite blocking all newspapers, broadcasters have been invited.

Scottish Labour business manager Neil Bibby 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.

‘This is a tell-tale sign that this manifesto is going to be as bereft of ideas as the SNP’s last 15 years in government. 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.’

Former US President Donald Trump was frequently criticised by the Scottish First Minister during his time in the White House

Former US President Donald Trump was frequently criticised by the Scottish First Minister during his time in the White House

It is understood that concerns about the lack of Press access have been raised with the SNP by the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists’ Association, which represents political reporters at Holyrood.

Last month, journalists were not permitted to ask questions at a Scottish Government economic event hosted by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes.

They were invited to watch on Zoom after being told they could only attend ‘online’ because of ‘ongoing Covid restrictions’.

After losing the independence referendum in 2014, then-First Minister Alex Salmond caused uproar by inviting only hand-picked journalists to attend the press conference at Bute House when he announced his resignation.

Ms Sturgeon’s comments ahead of today’s event include claims that the cost of living crisis is ‘Tory-made’ and that the Scottish Government is ‘doing what we can to ease the burden on hard-pressed families’, and that SNP councillors will ‘prioritise the cost of living crisis in Scotland’s council chambers’.

She also appealed to voters to ‘send a message to Boris Johnson that Scotland has had enough of his incompetent, sleaze-ridden government’.

The Scottish Tories described it as ‘the same tired old slogan that the SNP trot out at every election’.

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