Nicola Sturgeon pulls out of event involving ex-Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon

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Nicola Sturgeon has pulled out of a BBC-run conference after learning that Donald Trump's former strategist Steve Bannon has been invited to speak.

Nicola Sturgeon has pulled out of a BBC-run conference after learning that Donald Trump's former strategist Steven Bannon has been invited to speak.

The First Minister tweeted that she refused to take part in an event that risks “legitimising or normalising far right, racist views”.

Mr Bannon, who has been on a tour of Europe hoping to united right wing populist political movements, is listed as a speaker at the Edinburgh event News Xchange2018.

The First Minister had been expected to open the conference at a reception at the National Museum of Scotland on November 13, the evening before Mr Bannon speaks at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

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Mr Bannon was the driving force behind the right-wing Breitbart News website before emerging as one of the key players in Mr Trump's White House.

He served as chief strategist, a role that gave him a direct and influential line to Mr Trump. He left the post in August last year after the two men fell out.

Read more: Ex-Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon in secret Scotland visit
According to The Ferret investigative journalism website, BBC Scotland is described as “co-hosting the event.” The agenda includes a special edition of BBC Question Time, and the BBC’s Sarah Smith is lined up to interview Mr Bannon.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The First Minister will no longer be participating in this event. Her office were only informed at the end of this week by the BBC ‎of their invitation to Steve Bannon, and her attendance is no longer appropriate on that basis."

Ms Sturgeon tweeted: “I believe passionately in free speech but as @ScotGovFM I have to make balanced judgements and will not be part of any process that risks legitimising or normalising far right racist views. I regret that the BBC has put me and others in this position.”