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Sturgeon drops hints at not fighting next election

Sturgeon pondering
Sturgeon: thoughtful

Nicola Sturgeon said she will “make a judgement” on whether to lead the SNP into the next Holyrood elections.

Addressing an Edinburgh Fringe audience, the party leader and First Minister, said she currently planned to lead the SNP into the 2026 election, but admitted the future was uncertain and that some of her supporters had turned against her.

Her comments add fuel to speculation that she will stand down if she fails to hold a referendum on independence next year and, if it goes ahead, that she loses.

She said: “The default position is that of course I’ll fight the next election, but I will make a judgment on that nearer the time,” she said.

“Anybody in a job like this owes it to the public to make sure that they’re the right person to do it, that they’ve got the energy to do it, that they’ve got the appetite, that they’re prepared to make the enormous commitment that a job like this involves, and to constantly be assessing and reassessing that. I think that’s important, and I will try my best to do that.”

Ms Sturgeon dismissed claims that she was “just waiting for the right time to chuck it and move on to some grand international job”, saying: “That’s nonsense and wishful thinking on their part . . . I have fought and won eight elections. I am up for the challenge.”

She responded to Tory leadership contender Liz Truss’s statement that she was an “attention seeker” who should be “ignored” by saying it was effectively telling people to “ignore Scotland”.

“It didn’t make me angry on my own behalf . . . it kind of made me angry on behalf of Scotland,” she said. “Not everybody in Scotland supports me and my party . . . but I am the democratically elected first minister of Scotland, and when you say that I should be ignored then effectively you are saying that Scotland’s democratic choices and preferences should be ignored.”

She claimed Ms Truss was obsessed with her photoshoot in Vogue magazine last year and said that when they met at the Cop 26 climate summit in Glasgow in November Ms Truss asked how she could do the same.

“She wanted to know how she could get into Vogue, and she calls me an attention seeker,” said Ms Sturgeon.

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“I told her they asked me. I didn’t actually mean to do this, but I told her it wasn’t the first time I had been in Vogue and she looked a little bit like she had swallowed a wasp.”

The First Minister said she hadn’t spoken to her predecessor Alex Salmond since they fell out over sexual misconduct claims that surfaced against him four years ago and was unlikely to speak to him again.

Mr Salmond was awarded £512,000 after a court found a Scottish government investigation against him was unlawful and “tainted by apparent bias”. He was later acquitted in criminal court.

Asked if she had spoken to Mr Salmond in the last three years, she said: “Nope.” Asked if she thought she ever would speak to him, she again replied: “Nope.”

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