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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Katrine Bussey

Nicola Sturgeon ‘hoping to have more fun’ as she steps down from high office

Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “hoping to have some more fun in life” as she prepares to step down as both SNP leader and Scottish First Minister.

Ms Sturgeon said it was only now “at the age of almost 53, standing down from a lifetime in frontline politics” that she was able to do this.

Her comments came as she enters her final week as Scotland’s First Minister – a job she has had for more than eight years.

A new leader of the SNP, who will then go on to take over as first minister, will be appointed next Monday.

As the end of her time in Government approaches, Ms Sturgeon revealed she had “never doubted” her decision to quit.

She told ITV’s Loose Women programme how her departure from the top job in Scottish politics has “probably not” sunk in yet.

“It’s a big, big change and I think it will take a while for me to adapt to a very different way of living,” Ms Sturgeon said.

But while she said there had been a “mix of emotions” in recent weeks, the First Minister added: “The thing I can say with no hesitation is I have never doubted I have taken the right decision.”

I think I would tell my younger self to remember to have a bit of fun, and not be all work and no play and not to take myself too seriously
— Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister

Ms Sturgeon later told an event hosted by the RSA in London that when Jacinda Ardern had announced she was quitting as New Zealand’s prime minister, she “hadn’t reached the decision to step down myself yet, but I felt a sense of envy”.

Having become involved in politics at the age of 16, Ms Sturgeon told the audience there that the best advice she would give her teenage self was not to “take yourself so seriously” and to not wait till later in life to have fun.

She said she was “an introvert at heart” and had worked to overcome this in her political career – although she added that her “shyness and introversion” had been a “secret super power”, saying this “make you work harder and rise more to the challenges”.

The First Minister said: “I think I would tell my younger self to remember to have a bit of fun, and not be all work and no play and not to take myself too seriously.

“Because it is only now at the age of almost 53, standing down from a lifetime in front line politics, than I am hoping to have some more fun in life.

“Don’t leave it till you’re 53 to have fun is what I wish I had told my 16-year-old self.”

With three candidates running to replace her: Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and former community safety minister Ash Regan, she said whoever takes on the job should be prepared to be bold “especially on the issues that matter the most”.

This advice, she said, came from “my weaknesses as well as my strengths, from my failures as well as my success.”

She insisted political leaders should “not shy away from uncertainties, doubts and complexities”.

Ms Sturgeon went on to advise: “Be as bold as you can be, especially on the issues that matter the most.”

While she said “no government can be bold on absolutely everything” Ms Sturgeon added that some of the achievements she was most proud of: such as establishing the Scottish Child Payment; reforming the income tax system north of the border; and seeking to move away from oil and gas, had all  involved taking decisions that were “difficult, controversial but vital”.

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