FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hit back at criticism she "abandoned" Holyrood and is spending too much time at COP26, by stating she is “showcasing Scotland”.

The SNP leader made the comments at the climate change summit on Thursday, and noted that she had seen Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, and LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton at the summit in recent days.

Asked if she regretted spending time at the conference during a briefing with journalists, the First Minister simply said “no”.

Although she can’t “single-handedly” secure an agreement, Sturgeon said that she was determined to play her part to get a “successful outcome”.

READ MORE: Scottish Tories rage at Boris Johnson's 'self-inflicted' sleaze scandals

Responding to allegations she had “abandoned the Scottish Parliament” to come to COP26, the First Minister swiftly hit back.

She said: “Well, I've stood up there over the last few days and I’ve seen I think Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and Alex Cole-Hamilton.

“I've watched Alex Cole-Hamilton yesterday take selfies of himself over there, and I'm not criticising that, I think all of us as Scottish politicians have an obligation to do what we can to support the success of this summit.

The National:

The FM said that she had spotted Douglas Ross and other Scottish party leaders at the summit

“And as First Minister, I've got a particular responsibility to secure, not secure single-handedly because I can't do that, but play my part in trying to secure a successful outcome and also take the opportunity to showcase Scotland. It’s not every day the world comes to Glasgow.

“And if I hadn't taken the opportunity to showcase Scotland to make sure that we are playing our full part, then I'm pretty sure my political opponents would be queuing up to criticise me if I hadn't been here as much as I have.

“So that's just the nature of political opposition.”

Asked if she regrets spending too much time at the conference when issues such as the struggling ambulance service and the expansion of the vaccine passport scheme were brought up at FMQs, she simply responded, “no”.

READ MORE: Ben Wallace accused of 'political games' for not mentioning Tory MPs on army trip

She added: “First Ministers don’t just do one thing at a time, we do lots of things at a time.

“So all of these issues I have been fully engaged in all week as well as being here, but I have no doubt, and I mean no doubt, that had I not committed to trying to do everything I can to make this summit success, then the same people who are criticising me for being here would have been queued up to criticise me for that as well.

“That's in the nature of democracy, it is in the nature of politics but in my job you don't get to do one thing, and you don't get to choose to do one thing over another.

“All of these things are things that I am engaged in every single day.”