NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of Donald Trump-like “arrogance and cowardice” after the SNP excluded the press from its local election launch.

The First Minister is due to kick off her party’s campaign for the May 5 vote in her Glasgow Southside constituency today.

However when the party issued an embargoed trail to the media yesterday it contained no mention of a time and venue, despite being titled “campaign launch”.

Asked how the press were supposed to attend and ask questions of the SNP leader, a spokesman then revealed the party had chosen an unsuitable format and venue.

He said: “We're launching the campaign with a cost of living visit rather than a typical launch event - it'll be in Glasgow and numbers are limited. 

“We'll have visits throughout the campaign and publications will have the opportunity to ask questions of the party leader, as well as the usual channels via SNP Media.”

It is understood that just one broadcaster will attend, with Holyrood’s press corps shut out.

Opposition parties accused the First Minister of hiding from scrutiny with a "media blackout".

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "This is a remarkable display of both arrogance and cowardice from the First Minister. 

“It feels more like the scrutiny dodging antics of Donald Trump than the actions of a leader at ease with her government’s record.

"Then again if I had spent five years cutting local authority budgets then perhaps I wouldn't want to face media scrutiny either.

"Next Wednesday I will launch the Scottish Liberal Democrats' plan to offer new hope to every corner of Scotland and I fully expect a thorough grilling from Scotland's press corps. It's a vital part of our democracy."

Labour MSP Neil Bibby said: “It’s no wonder Nicola Sturgeon is trying to dodge scrutiny while she bungles her response to the worst cost of living crisis in decades.

“This is a tell-tale sign that this manifesto is going to be as bereft of ideas as the SNP’s last 15 years in government.

“It is utterly shameless for the SNP to talk about the cost of living crisis while they refuse to use the litany of powers at their disposal to help Scots.

“The truth is they don’t want to be asked any questions because they don’t have any answers.

“We deserve transparency and openness from our politicians, and we need real solutions to the cost of living crisis.”

Tory MSP Miles Briggs added: “It shows how out of touch Nicola Sturgeon is that she won’t even allow the press along to the SNP’s campaign launch to question her.”

The row has echoes of Alex Salmond’s resignation statement in Bute House after he lost the 2014 referendum and he excluded reporters from certain pro-Union newspapers.