The National:

AS the Tories grow increasingly strained trying to prevent self-destruction over Brexit, their usual attempts to conceal contempt for Scotland's democracy and those who represent it are slipping.

We've reported already on Theresa May running feart of The National – and she's doing the same when faced with the prospect of debating the First Minister.

There has been much talk of a TV debate on Brexit. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the Prime Minister have both been open to the possibility.

There has also been wide support for Nicola Sturgeon's call to take part in it.

READ MORE: SNP: Prime time TV leaders' debate on Brexit must include Sturgeon

So, how did the Tories respond? A spokesman said: “The meaningful vote on December 11 is a vote by MPs. The last time I looked, Nicola Sturgeon is not included in that description.”

We're talking about the First Minister of Scotland, here. She has a right to be part of a debate on an issue which will have such a huge effect on Scotland.

What the Tories are really offering is a weak excuse for their weak Prime Minister.

SNP MP Peter Grant responded: "So next time we have an Independence referendum MPs from south of the border will keep out of it?"

The disrespect from the Tories is as glaring as ever – though we can fully understand why they'd be afraid.

The First Minister is far more committed to maintaining a strong relationship with the EU than Corbyn. The SNP are far more united in backing single market membership than Labour.

READ MORE: Call to include Nicola Sturgeon in Brexit TV debate rejected

The First Minister has consistently been a class above her political rivals in the debate around Brexit. She's left many impressed – and many south of the Border wishing they could vote for her.

And, perhaps most importantly, she represents the Scottish voices Westminster has consistently tried to silence on Brexit, threatening devolution itself in the process.

If this debate was about winning over MPs as the spokesman claims, why have it on TV? Who are they trying to win over? MPs hear their speeches in the House of Commons.

Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of Scotland and of the third biggest party at Westminster. She is perfectly suited to be part of any TV debate on Brexit.

Though we'll say one thing – this is at least consistent with the UK Government's shameful attitude towards Scotland throughout this whole process.