NICOLA Sturgeon’s critics have reacted angrily as she continues her America trip, claiming the First Minister is only there to “bang on about Scottish independence”.

Scotland’s First Minister is on a two-day trip to promote Scotland’s global aims and strengthen the historic ties between the two nations.

On Monday she gave a wide-ranging speech touching on climate change, the Ukraine war and promoting Scotland’s energy capabilities to the Brookings Institution think tank, before meeting with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other US government officials.

On Tuesday, the First Minister is expected to meet various congressional groups to discuss issues from abortion rights to the EU.

The Scottish Government confirmed that Sturgeon and Pelosi had discussed “Scotland’s future” as well as many other topics during their meeting – with Ukrainian refugees and the Northern Ireland protocol among them.

Sturgeon also discussed the “constitutional future of the UK” with US deputy secretary of state for the State Department, Wendy Sherman. They shared other conversations on Northern Ireland and Ukraine.

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During their televised meeting, Pelosi heaped praise on “Madam First Minister” – hailing her as a “real model to women everywhere” for her leadership.

The media appearances, meetings with senior US officials and warm words for the First Minister did not impress the LibDems and Tories, however.

Scottish LibDem chief Alex Cole-Hamilton argued the cost-of-living crisis was more important.

"Successive First Ministers have represented Scotland abroad but the previous ones were focused on boosting Scottish business and forging important diplomatic relationships,” he said.

"Using meetings with US officials to bang on about Scottish independence looks hopelessly out of touch at a time when most Scots are more concerned with the state of the economy and the cost-of-living crisis,” he claimed.

"Scotland needs an ambitious economic investment programme to help businesses flourish and protect families from the cost-of-living crisis. It's not going to get it when the First Minister's eyes are off the ball."

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon in the US: FM hits back at critics of foreign visit

Meanwhile, the Scottish Conservatives argued Sturgeon was putting independence ahead of other key issues.

“Instead of focusing on issues that are important to Scots such as the economy and education, Sturgeon would rather promote independence abroad,” said MSP Tess White.

The outrage came after clips showed Sturgeon’s meeting with long-serving Democrat Pelosi.

“It is a personal as well as official pleasure and honour to welcome First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the Capitol,” Pelosi told reporters.

“Last time we met was in Glasgow. Thank you for the hospitality and organisation of Scotland in forming COP26 – it was an honour to be there with you.

“Thank you for your leadership in terms of protecting the planet, in reducing all of our dependence by having diversity, [reducing] our dependence on Russian oil.

“Thank you also for welcoming Ukrainian refugees to Scotland.”

She went on: “The First Minister has in her own leadership role been a real model to women everywhere in terms of women in leadership, and again, with great excellence, and again, that day, people from all over the world were able to see that manifestation of leadership.”