NICOLA Sturgeon has turned down an invitation to appear in front of a Westminster committee. 

The Scottish Affairs Committee asked the First Minister in November to discuss its recent inquiries, including into welfare, education and renewable energy.

But a response sent from Sturgeon’s office on April 26 said she declined to appear, citing the SNP leaders’ “responsibilities and range of commitments”.

The First Minister pointed to her appearance before the Scottish Parliament’s Conveners Committee earlier this year.

“Thank you for your invitation to appear before the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee,” she said.

“Unfortunately, due to my responsibilities and range of commitments, I will have to decline the invitation.

“As the committee is aware, I am accountable to the Scottish Parliament for the decisions and actions of the Scottish Government in relation to the issues you refer to.”

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In a statement on Wednesday, committee chair Pete Wishart said it was “surprised” at the length of time it took for the First Minister to respond.

He added: “Our committee is focussed on reports and inquiries that are relevant to the people of Scotland, and it would have been helpful to have explored the issues with the First Minister.

“In this Parliament we have had inquiries and reports on universities, renewable energy and public sector broadcasting issues that cut across responsibilities of both Parliaments.

“The invitation remains open to the First Minister and we hope that some time in the future she may be in a position to reconsider her decision.”