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Sturgeon faces final First Minister’s Questions before stepping down

Her successor will be announced next week following the SNP leadership contest.

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Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon is to face her final First Minister’s Questions after more than eight years as head of the Scottish Government.

The leader of the SNP announced last month she was stepping down from her role at a press conference in Edinburgh, saying she no longer has the stamina to carry on in the pressured and demanding role.

She said: “In my head and in my heart, I know that time is now. That it’s right for me, for my party and my country.”

She has been carrying out her last few duties as First Minister this week and had an appearance on Loose Women on Monday, where she said the SNP had “mishandled” the membership number row but asked for “perspective”.

Ms Sturgeon later gave a speech to the Royal Society of Arts in London.

Nicola Sturgeon speech to RSA Fellowship
Nicola Sturgeon will take her last First Minister’s Questions on Thursday (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

She gave a formal apology in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday to those who had been affected by “cruel” historical adoption practices, where mothers were forced to give up their babies.

The 52-year-old will take part in her final FMQs on Thursday, facing off for the last time against Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

Afterwards she will give her final statement to Parliament as Scotland’s First Minister and on Friday will carry out her last official engagement.

Her resignation triggered the SNP’s first leadership election campaign in nearly 20 years, since she became leader of the party in 2014 after the resignation of Alex Salmond.

The First Minister had said she would remain in office until her successor is chosen.

Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan are all in the running to be the next first minister, with the ballot for SNP members set to close at noon on Monday. The new leader will be announced that afternoon, with a vote to officially appoint the next first minister taking place in Holyrood the next day.

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