SCOTLAND’S First Minister led a global outcry against the exclusion of The National from a press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Tory leader was in Scotland on Wednesday evening visiting the Bridge of Weir Leather Company as part of her whistle-stop PR campaign to sell the Brexit deal.

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

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In return, The National refused to cover May’s visit, and, in protest, left the headlines on our front page blank. Above them was a silhouette of the Prime Minister with the words: “This is where we would have reported on Theresa May’s visit to Scotland. We were not allowed in to her press event with the other newspapers. We have refused to cover it.”

Sturgeon said May’s decision to not let us in to the event – on the same day in which it was confirmed she would debate Jeremy Corbyn and Jeremy Corbyn only on TV – showed she was frightened of tough questions.

“Theresa May has ignored Scotland throughout the whole Brexit process, and excluding The National in this way simply underlines how she is running scared of answering tough questions,” she told The National.

Earlier, May was told to come to Parliament and explain why she banned Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper as SNP MP Chris Law took to the floor in the House of Commons to accuse the Prime Minister of hampering press freedom.

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Law told MPs that press freedom was one “of the most important powers of a modern democracy”.

He added: “However there seems to be an exception as the Prime Minister yesterday in a visit to Scotland refused one of our biggest newspaper access to a press event.

“Newspaper The National today quite rightly ran the front page as a silhouette of the Prime Minister and has refused to cover the story

“So can we have an urgent statement from the Prime Minister to explain her reason for refusing access, and to explain the importance of the free press in this house”.

Responding for the Government, the Tory leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, argued that it was wrong to suggest that May had not been “accessible”.

She said:“I’m not aware of the particular situation that the honourable gentleman raises, but what I would say to the House is that during the last two weeks, the Prime Minister has spent more than nine and a half hours at the despatch box, in the seat of our democracy, in Parliament, taking questions from all honourable and right honourable members right across this place, representing the interest of their constituents.

“So, I do think to suggest that somehow the Prime Minister has not been accessible would be very, very short of the mark.”

The response to The National’s front page was spectacular, winning praise from journalists, academics and politicians.

On the Sky News paper review, Daily Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire and the Daily Mail’s Andrew Pierce both gave their support to the National. It was probably the only thing they agreed on.

Pierce said: “That’s a very clever front page and what a silly decision by her spin doctors not to allow The National in.

“What have we turned into, a police state?”

Maguire added: “It has as much right to go in as any other paper.”

Meanwhile, Downing Street found themselves caught up in another censorship row, after banning a paper in Camden from covering a local event with the Prime Minister.

Instead, the newspaper was offered “pooled” photos and “exclusive” quotes. When a reporter and a photographer turned up to the event they were politely instructed to leave.