‘Sturgeon is running scared!’ SNP leader stuns own MPs as she refuses to answer questions

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The SNP leader has been accused of “running scared” after turning down a request to give evidence to the House of Commons Scottish affairs committee, which scrutinises the work of the Government on matters north of the border. She had been invited to discuss the committee’s recent inquiries, including into welfare, education and renewable energy.

However, she rejected the request in a letter to the committee’s chair sent on April 26.

She wrote: “Unfortunately due to my responsibilities and range of commitments I will have to decline the invitation.”

The First Minister added that she had no obligation to answer MPs questions.

“As the committee is aware, I am accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the decisions and actions of the Scottish Government,” she added.

The Scottish affairs committee first wrote to Ms Sturgeon asking for her to appear before them on November 1 2021.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has appeared before Westminster’s Welsh affairs committee twice since the 2019 general election.

Ms Sturgeon’s decision has left even members of her own party shocked.

Scottish affairs committee Chairman, the SNP’s Pete Wishart, said: “We first wrote to the First Minister in November inviting her to appear before our Committee, and we are surprised that her response did not arrive sooner.

“Our Committee is focussed on reports and inquiries that are relevant to the people of Scotland, and it would have been helpful to have explored the issues with the First Minister.

“In this Parliament we have had inquiries and reports on universities, renewable energy and public sector broadcasting issues that cut across responsibilities of both Parliaments.

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“The invitation remains open to the First Minister and we hope that some time in the future she may be in a position to reconsider her decision.”

The committee of 11 MPs is cross-party, with representatives of the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and SNP members.

Tory MP Andrew Bowie who sits on the committee told Express.co.uk: “We’ve given Nicola Sturgeon that chance to come and give her views to teh Scottish affair committee, and I think the fact that she is running scared says more about her reluctancy to take accountability for some of the mistakes she’s made as First Minister more than it does about her refusal to come because she’s not accountable to this place.

“If it’s good enough for the First Minister of Wales, it should be good enough for the First Minister of Scotland.

“It’s real pity she can’t come and defend some of the actions of her government in front of elected representatives.”

He pointed out ministers from the Westminster Government had given evidence to committees of the Scottish Parliament.

While it is not a legal requirement to appear before select committees if requested to give evidence, custom dictates an invite is expected to be accepted.

MPs can find a witness in contempt of Parliament if they refuse to attend, however, this process is rarely used.

This is not the first time Ms Sturgeon has been accused of blocking co-operation with Westminster.

Ministers have previously accused the Scottish Government of deliberately attempting to block a review into the UK’s rail network.

The SNP was accused of blocking civil servants in Edingburgh from giving information to British businessman Keith Williams who carried out the inquiry on the Government’s behalf.

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