Nicola Sturgeon ‘hypocritical’ after SNP attacks on Boris Johnson’s approach to media scrutiny, claims Scots Tory leader

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives rejected suggestions Nicola Sturgeon was taking lessons from Boris Johnson’s approach to the media.

Mr Ross said it was “ultra-hypocritical” of the SNP to attack the Prime Minister for avoiding press scrutiny, only to do it themselves.

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It comes after the Prime Minister visited Scotland in February during the height of the Partygate scandal, but only spoke to broadcasters and select print publications.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the launch of the SNP local election campaign at the People’s Pantry food cooperative in Govanhill, Glasgow.

At the time, Ian Blackford had accused Mr Johnson of “hiding from the Scottish people” during his “flying visit”.

The First Minister was accused of Trump-like behavior by critics after the SNP excluded print journalists from the party’s local election campaign launch in Glasgow.

Ms Sturgeon told Bauer Radio at the event that the event was a “campaign visit” despite the press release stating it was a launch three times, and that there “wasn’t space” to accommodate newspapers and magazine journalists.

She rejected suggestions she was running away from scrutiny.

She said: “It is nonsense. I am standing here answering questions to you. I have just done two lengthy BBC interviews answering several questions, I’m going to go out there and talk to journalists outside.

“The only point being made, a campaign visit, our manifesto launch will be next week, is that there wasn’t space.

“People can see right now we are in quite an enclosed space so there wasn’t space to have large numbers of people in here.

“I think when I am standing answering questions to suggest that I am not willing to answer questions just seems a bit strange.”

Speaking to journalists, the Scottish Tory leader said the approach was “not new” from the SNP or Nicola Sturgeon.

Mr Ross, who said he was “confident” his party would secure second place on May 5 despite discouraging polling numbers, also claimed Partygate was not an issue for voters.

He said: “She [Ms Sturgeon] believes she communicates at a higher level than everyone else and she has often in the past dismissed journalists as not having listened to a single word she has said.

“As we know in the last couple of months they have barred print journalists from a number of key announcements and it is absolutely ridiculous that they couldn’t use a venue big enough to take the media to cover the launch of their local government campaign.

“It suggests that they have nothing new to say. This is a tired government that doesn’t have any new ideas and it’s quite clear that the First Minister doesn’t like scrutiny on either her record or her plans for Scotland.”

Asked whether the First Minister was taking a leaf out of the Prime Minister’s book, Mr Ross repeated his criticism and accused Ms Sturgeon of a “lacklustre, complacent attitude”.

He said: “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are very keen to criticize the PM if that happens, but it seems to take exception when they are criticized for something similar.

“I know in the last couple of visits the PM has spent quite a bit of time with print journalists, particularly those covering the local areas where he is visiting.

“It just seems ultra-hypocritical for the SNP to say that it is unacceptable for the Prime Minister to do it, yet it seems they do exactly the same.”

Want to hear more from The Scotsman’s politics team? Check out the latest episode of our political podcast, The Steamie.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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