MPs, journalists and trade unions rallied behind The National yesterday, after No 10 banned our reporters from a press conference with the Prime Minister.

Theresa May was in Scotland visiting the Bridge of Weir leather company as part of the whistle-stop PR campaign to sell her Brexit deal.

READ MORE: Theresa May visits Scotland... here's our coverage

But when this paper asked to come along, the press office at Downing Street told us no, saying “limited capacity” meant they were unable to extend an invite.

It’s not clear why, on this occasion, The National was unwelcome.

The paper has frequently taken part in press events with the Prime Minister and other senior Tories.

But just two weeks ago we were the only national Scottish newspaper denied a chance to question May’s de-facto deputy David Lidington during his visit to Glasgow.

John Toner, the NUJ’s National Organiser for Scotland, called for answers from No 10. He said it was vital in a democracy that newspapers were “given access to those in power”.

Toner said the union supported “the calls of The National for a proper explanation as to why they were excluded.”

LibDem MP Christine Jardine, who is herself a former journalist, described the decision as “incompetent”.

She compared it to both Donald Trump revoking the White House credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta, and Alex Salmond’s decision to ban journalists from The Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Daily Express from his resignation press conference after the 2014 referendum on independence.

Jardine said: “We all know that there are times when events have to be ‘pooled’, but that’s not the case here and for the PM’s team to leave themselves open to this sort of criticism is incompetent.

“Surely when the country is facing the most important decision for generations the Government should want to ensure not only the widest and best coverage, but not allow anything to distract from the issue.

“Brexit is going to have a disastrous effect on the UK’s economy. There is no use in Theresa May defending her deal to an audience of her own picking.

“Just like it’s not worth her holding a debate on the deal if she isn’t going to allow the Liberal Democrats to present the case for a people’s vote and a chance to exit from Brexit.

“This allows the claim that journalists are being excluded, a tactic previously deployed by Trump and Alex Salmond. That is not acceptable.”

Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell called it “an utter disgrace”.

The National’s editor, Callum Baird hit out at the Prime Minister. He said it was “outrageous that Theresa May can’t bring herself to talk to Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper.”

“The fact that our very well informed readers won’t believe a thing she says is beside the point,” he added.

The SNP MSP George Adam accused May of “running feart.”

He said: “As is par-for-the-course on her day trips to Scotland, she’s hiding from the public and dodging questions from the press – only speaking to a hand-picked audience.”

Daily Mail columnist Stephen Daisley tweeted: “If No. 10 is deliberately excluding @ScotNational from press events, that is unacceptable. You don’t get to shut out a paper just because you don’t like its editorial line. I would expect @ScotTories to make this clear to their Downing St colleagues.”

No 10 did not respond to requests for a comment.