Nicola Sturgeon defends US trip after 'indy tour' criticism

The First Minister has said promoting Scotland overseas is “part of the job” as she prepares to deliver a speech focusing on COP26 goals in Washington DC.

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scottish ministers “promoting” Scotland across the world “should, quite simply, be seen as part of the job for whoever the government of the day happens to be”.

The First Minister made the comments in an article she wrote for The Times newspaper ahead of her speech to the Brookings Institution on Monday in Washington DC.

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Writing for the paper, Ms Sturgeon said: “The SNP’s opponents try to delegitimise the Scottish government’s international engagement. But the reality is that Scottish ministers have been making international visits like this since the start of the devolution era, long before my party took office.

Nicola Sturgeon has defended her trip to America after Scottish Conservatives branded the visit as an 'indy tour' (Picture: Jane Barlow - Pool/Getty Images.

“Promoting our country overseas should, quite simply, be seen as part of the job for whoever the government of the day happens to be.

"My own hope, of course, is that in times to come Scotland will be representing itself on the global stage as an independent country, but that, ultimately, will be a matter for the people of Scotland.”

Last week, the Scottish Conservatives named the trip an “indy tour” and accused the First Minister of promoting independence abroad at taxpayers’ expense.

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During her trip to America this week, Ms Sturgeon said she is taking forward “political and economic engagements to promote Scotland and strengthen the bonds of friendship and partnership we enjoy with the United States.”

The First Minister said: “Scotland must be part of that co-operation, whatever our constitutional future. That is why visits like this one matter.”

The trip marks her first visit to the US since 2019 as she said the pandemic, the climate crisis, and Russia’s “brutal, illegal invasion” of Ukraine “all strengthen the imperative for international co-operation and concerted action.”

Following the UN’s COP26 conference in Glasgow last year, Ms Sturgeon said she will outline the need to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5C as well as the need to address energy security, particularly in light of the Ukraine war and the effect it is having on energy prices.

She added: “Nations must prioritise sustainability as far as they can, promoting energy efficiency and accelerating the development of renewable and low-carbon energy.”

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