NICOLA Sturgeon has been accused of “real arrogance” and of playing politics by refusing to co-operate with Theresa May’s flagship racial disparity audit.

Promised by the Prime Minister shortly after taking over in Downing Street in July 2016, she hailed the audit as a "world first".

Mrs May explained: “What this audit shows is there isn't anywhere to hide. That's not just for Government, it's for society as a whole."

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READ MORE: Tackling racial injustice is Theresa May's "mission in politics" said No 10 as audit published

The audit will be on-going with new policies created to tackle racial inequality. Already, the UK Government has identified 20 “hotspots,” including Glasgow, where special employment packages will be established to help those from black and ethnic minority communities get into work.

No 10 stressed how the data provided an “unprecedented level of transparency” about how people from different races were treated in the provision of public services, covering areas like health, education, employment and the criminal justice system.

But for many of the areas, which are devolved, Scottish figures do not appear on the new Ethnicity Facts and Figures website.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman explained that after “discussing concerns with stakeholders,” the SNP administration chose not to be involved in the audit, “agreeing that participation was not in the best interests of the people of Scotland”.

She stressed how Edinburgh would shortly publish a Race Equality Action Plan, which would set out more key measures to address racial inequalities.

READ MORE: Tackling racial injustice is Theresa May's "mission in politics" said No 10 as audit published

The spokeswoman added: “We are confident our own data gathering systems will better reflect Scotland’s circumstances and needs.”

But a senior Whitehall source suggested shortly after becoming PM, Mrs May wrote to Ms Sturgeon to get the Scottish Government to co-operate but she was rebuffed.

“More Scottish data would have been in the interests of the people of Scotland but it looks like the SNP Government’s attempt to pursue a grievance agenda blinded them to co-operate.”

Annie Wells, the Scottish Conservative equalities spokeswoman said: “There’s no good reason why Scottish public bodies should opt-out. It speaks of a real arrogance that Nicola Sturgeon decided not to engage.

“The SNP are never shy of moaning about lack of co-operation with the UK Government but, presented with the chance to work together on a crucial issue, they opted-out.”