Nicola Sturgeon lines up Daily Show appearance during US trip

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister in Bute House 2

Nicola Sturgeon is hoping to introduce herself to the American public with an appearance on the Daily Show as part of her visit to the US in June.

An interview with the combative Jon Stewart would mark another spike in the SNP leader’s burgeoning international profile, as she becomes the most senior serving UK politician to appear on Comedy Central’s hugely popular satirical news programme.

Although the Scottish government would not confirm the first minister’s schedule after the plan was first reported by the Sunday Post, the Guardian understands that an appearance on the show is under discussion. Stewart’s previous guests have included Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, although both were interviewed after leaving office.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “The programme for the first minister’s visit is still being finalised, but is expected to include a number of media opportunities to help promote Scotland.”

Sturgeon’s profile grew substantially during the general election campaign, when she reached a wider UK audience for the first time in a series of televised leaders’ debates. Following her first appearance at the beginning of April, the question of whether non-residents of Scotland could vote for the Scottish National party unexpectedly featured in a list of most searched-for terms on Google.

Sturgeon’s visit to the US is expected to include a number of business engagements highlighting Scotland’s success in attracting US investment, as well as meetings at the World Bank, IMF and an address at the Council on Foreign Relations.

On Tuesday, in her first speech in Brussels as first minister, Sturgeon will emphasise the difference between the Scottish and UK governments’ stances on Europe, as the UK prime minister, David Cameron, moves forward with his planned referendum on EU membership.

In an address at the European Policy Centre, the first minster will highlight the benefits that EU membership brings to Scotland, including the boost to the economy brought by the 171,000 people born elsewhere in the European Union but living and working in Scotland.

Sturgeon will add: “Polls in Scotland consistently show strong support for EU membership. That is why we will propose a ‘double lock’, meaning that exit from the European Union would only be possible if all UK nations agreed. That way Scotland couldn’t be forced out of the European Union against our will.”

On Saturday, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader, Kezia Dugdale, called for EU nationals to be included in the referendum on EU membership, arguing that last September’s referendum on Scottish independence had been enhanced by the participation of around 90,000 EU nationals registered to take part in the ballot.

“Put simply, I believe EU nationals who have chosen to live their life here, and make the UK their home, should have the right to vote in a referendum on the future of the country,” Dugdale told the Scottish Fabians in Glasgow, as she set out her leadership bid following leader Jim Murphy’s resignation in the wake of the devastating election result for Labour in Scotland, in which the party lost all but one of its Westminster seats.

Powered by article was written by Libby Brooks Scotland reporter, for The Guardian on Sunday 31st May 2015 15.09 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010