Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “Instead of incurring the wrath of the European Commission and the local police, the First Minister should be focussing on getting the basics right back home.

“That means reversing the decline of Scottish education, cutting waiting times in the NHS and investing in the police service. This SNP government is losing the plot.”

Answering questions after a speech at the European Policy Centre, Ms Sturgeon said she had not been contacted by local police authorities.

She also inisted the stunt had generated positive feedback in the Belgian capital and been interpreted as a message of “love and solidarity”.