Nicola Sturgeon declines invitation to appear before Westminster committee

The committee's chairman said he's "surprised" by the length of time it took for Ms Sturgeon to reply to the invitation

Published

Scotland’s First Minister has declined an invitation to appear before a Westminster committee.

The Scottish Affairs Committee invited Nicola Sturgeon in November to discuss its recent inquiries, including into welfare, education and renewable energy.

But a response sent from the First Minister’s office on April 26 said she declined to appear, citing Ms Sturgeon’s “responsibilities and range of commitments”.

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
Ms Sturgeon blamed her "responsibilities and range of commitments" for not being able to attend the committee
Ms Sturgeon blamed her "responsibilities and range of commitments" for not being able to attend the committee

Ms Sturgeon pointed to her appearance before the Scottish Parliament’s Conveners Committee earlier this year. “Thank you for your invitation to appear before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee,” she said.

“Unfortunately, due to my responsibilities and range of commitments, I will have to decline the invitation.

“As the committee is aware, I am accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the decisions and actions of the Scottish Government in relation to the issues you refer to.”

In a statement on Wednesday, committee chairman Pete Wishart said it was “surprised” at the length of time it took for the First Minister to respond.

He added: “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.

“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.”