SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon ditches City speech to plot "the way forward for Scotland after the General Election"

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Nicola Sturgeon was slated as the keynote speaker at today's Association of British Insurers Brexit conference (Source: Getty)

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has surprised the organisers of one of the UK insurance industry's most prestigious conferences by pulling out as a keynote speaker at the last minute.

Scotland's First Minister is instead seeking the agreement of the Scottish Parliament to make a statement later today on "the way forward for Scotland after the General Election".

The Association of British Insurers' (ABI) sold-out conference kicks off this morning. New City minister Steve Barclay is set to deliver one of his first speeches since taking the role earlier this month.

Sturgeon was due to take centre stage and sources at the ABI told City A.M. she pulled out at the eleventh hour to deal with "unavoidable" other issues.

Read more: Insurers blast Brexit no deal as "unacceptable"

The SNP has not responded to a request for comment on the withdrawal.

Entitled "Brexit - the road ahead", the ABI conference has two other keynote speakers: Lord Livermore and broadcaster Nick Robinson.

Others speaking at the event include the head of the ABI, Huw Evans, Aviva's head of UK insurance Andy Briggs and Kevin Thompson, the chief executive of Insurance Ireland.

Read more: The UK must win the battle for parallel Brexit talks

The conference will explore the impact and outlook that Brexit and the upcoming negotiations will have on the insurance and long-term savings industry.

It will focus on EU market access, new opportunities from trade and international regulatory cooperation and regulatory regimes.

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