The SNP leader, who will launch her party’s manifesto for the council elections at a cost-of-living photo-opportunity in Glasgow today, said the election will be a judgement of Boris Johnson’s response to the cost of living crisis.
The cost-of-living photo opportunity is not a typical campaign launch, the SNP said, with limited numbers and only broadcasters such as the BBC and STV getting an invite.
Critics said the decision to bar print journalists from the event was an example of “cowardice” and “arrogance” by Ms Sturgeon.
It comes as the First Minister urges Scots to vote SNP at May’s local elections in order to “send a message” to the Prime Minister as people are “terrified” to open their bills.
Speaking prior to the event, she said: “These elections come at a time when families are facing a Tory-made cost of living crisis, unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes. People are struggling to pay for their shopping and are terrified to open their bills.
“The SNP Scottish Government is already doing what we can to ease the burden on hard-pressed families and, if elected, SNP councillors will prioritise the cost of living crisis in Scotland’s council chambers - but we cannot let the Tories away with disgraceful inaction while households are forced into poverty.”
He 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.”
Miles Briggs, local government spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives, said Ms Sturgeon’s attacks were a “broken record” and said the SNP had not used their “huge powers” over benefits to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.
He said: “I don’t know how Nicola Sturgeon can say with a straight face that people should vote SNP to protect local services when her government has presided over year after year of savage cuts to local authority funding.
“If she wants to know who’s to blame for the £251m cuts facing councils across Scotland she should look in the mirror.
“And it shows how out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is that she won’t even allow the press along to the SNP’s campaign launch to question her on these absurd comments.”
Neil Bibby, the Scottish Labour business manager, said Ms Sturgeon and the SNP was “bereft of ideas”.
He 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.
“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, and we need real solutions to the cost of living crisis.”
An SNP spokesman said the event was not a “typical launch event” and that there would be the opportunity throughout the campaign for journalists to ask questions of the party leader.