Scottish leader pulls out of media event featuring Bannon

Scottish leader pulls out of media event featuring Bannon
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks at the Royal Society of Arts in London, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Sturgeon plans to set out an alternative to the Brexit choices outlined by Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. (Stefan Rousseau/Pool Photo via AP)

LONDON (AP) — Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has pulled out of an Edinburgh conference because former White House strategist Steve Bannon is scheduled to speak at the event.

Sturgeon said she believes “passionately in free speech” but declares she “would not be part of any process that risks legitimizing or normalizing far-right, racist views.”

Bannon is to be interviewed by a BBC journalist and answer questions at News Xchange, a media conference in Edinburgh on Nov. 14-15.

In a statement defending its decision to invite Bannon, seen Sunday on its website, organizers said Bannon is “a key influencer in the rise of populism — one of the dominant political trends of our times.”

Bannon spent seven months working in U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, leaving in August 2017.