UNIONISTS MSPs have raged at Nicola Sturgeon as she headed to Denmark to officially open the Scottish Government’s Nordic Office.

The First Minister is visiting the Danish capital of Copenhagen to open an office which is hoped to increase visibility for Scotland across the region, and create new economic and trading opportunities.

Sturgeon will undertake a range of trade, investment and policy engagements during her visit, and will look to discuss shared ambitions and the potential for closer collaboration.

She is expected to attend a roundtable with business and energy leaders at State of Green to explore how Scotland and the Nordic regions can co-operate on accelerating decarbonisation, and has met with Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod.

The First Minister will also pay a visit to Unicef’s Global Supply Hub – the world’s largest humanitarian warehouse – to observe the assembly and dispatching of life-saving supplies for Ukrainian families and children.

However, opposition MSPs have raged at the visit, with the Tories saying it was “ridiculous”.

Sharon Dowey (below), a Conservative from the South Scotland list, said: “Once again, Ms Sturgeon’s been caught asleep at the county’s wheel while rubbish is piling up on streets across the country.

The National: Sharon Dowey

"It's ridiculous that she has chosen this moment to go gallivanting around northern Europe before nipping back for a spot of self-promotion at Edinburgh’s Book Festival.

"The SNP Government’s role is to ensure the country runs smoothly and efficiently. Certainly, foreign mini-breaks and after-dinner speaking aren't in the job description.”

Scottish Labour also hit out at the First Minister. Neil Bibby MSP said: “It’s no wonder Nicola Sturgeon wants a break from Scotland’s litter-strewn streets, but most Scots don’t have that luxury. Whether she’s in Scotland or abroad, she has been missing in action this entire cost-of-living crisis.

“The First Minister needs to fund councils properly and secure a fair deal for council workers and bring an end to this chaos, as well as using the powers she has to help Scots struggling with soaring bills.”

Responding to the criticism, a spokesperson for the First Minister said: “Promoting Scotland overseas has never been more important than now, in the wake of the Tories’ shambolic Brexit, which is doing so much damage to Scotland.”

Commenting on the Denmark visit, Sturgeon said: “We have a centuries-long partnership with countries in the Nordic region, and cultural, social and linguistic traces of our shared history and heritage can be found across Scotland.

“To this day, we have much in common, with similar population sizes, dynamic cities, and large rural communities.

“We are nations of innovators that share the same ambition to accelerate decarbonisation, and we continue to work closely to exchange expertise on renewable energy technologies and sustainable economic development.

READ MORE: FM demands action as Ofgem rises energy price cap to 'unaffordable' £3549

“This office will support that ambition and build on the strong ties that already exist between us by promoting investment, trade and economic opportunities to benefit people and businesses across our countries.”

There are ongoing bin strikes in councils across Scotland as waste workers campaign for a better pay deal. On Friday, Royal Mail workers also walked out in the first of four days of UK-wide strike action.

On Friday, Ofgem announced that the energy price cap would go up by 80% from October 1. The First Minister said the rise could not be allowed to go ahead and called for urgent action from the UK Government and the energy providers.

The National: Martin Lewis appearing on the BBC One current affairs programme, Sunday Morning

Money saving expert Martin Lewis (above) issued a dire warning, saying that people would die if there was no action taken.

The Tory government in London remains paralysed as the party's leadership contest rolls on. In September, when the next prime minister is finally announced, it will have spanned three months. 

Boris Johnson and his Cabinet have proved unwilling to take any action on the energy crisis, instead deferring to the next leader. Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, the two contenders, have been vague in how they will address the crisis.

While there have been promises of aid, nothing has yet been confirmed. Lewis said the uncertainty was causing a second, mental health crisis on top of the energy "catastrophe".