Sturgeon officially opens Scottish Government hub in France

Nicola Sturgeon has officially opened the Scottish Government’s hub office in Paris.

The First Minister travelled to the French capital to address the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assemblee Nationale, the lower house of parliament.

France is the third largest market for Scottish exports, with Ms Sturgeon saying the relationship between the two nations is “one of the oldest in the world”.

But she has come under fire for embarking on another overseas trip so soon after a visit to the US and Canada.

The SNP leader visited Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, Ottawa and Toronto earlier in February.

Scottish Conservative chief whip Maurice Golden said: “Another week and another jaunt abroad for the First Minister.

“Meanwhile, back home, we have a health service on its knees, our schools are struggling, and councils are toiling to balance their budgets due to SNP cuts.”

The Tory MSP added: “The SNP’s only aim is to drive a wedge between Scotland and our largest trading partner – which is the rest of the UK.

“Nicola Sturgeon should focus on growing Scotland’s economy instead of attempting to grandstand on the world stage.”

Speaking at the hub office’s opening, the First Minister said: “The Scottish Government wants to strengthen our partnership – not just on the basis of our historic ties but our modern connections: friendships, cultural links, business ties, shared appetite for innovation and, most of all, our shared values.”