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Nicola Sturgeon hopes to contest 2021 elections as SNP leader

Nicola Sturgeon has said she intends to contest the Holyrood elections in 2021 as SNP leader "all being well"

The First Minister said that as she had been in the job less than a year, after succeeding Alex Salmond last November, it would be "rather strange" if she was considering stepping down.

Tory leader David Cameron has already said he will not serve three terms as prime minister, prompting speculation about who will succeed him.

But Ms Sturgeon told Holyrood magazine: " There's not much David Cameron does that I wish to emulate, I think that should be another one."

When asked when she would step down, the SNP leader said: " Look, I have been First Minister for less than a year, and I am about to face an election which for the first time I will look the Scottish people in the eye and say, 'vote for me as First Minister'.

"I think it would be rather strange if I was already deciding when I would stand down, but let's put it this way, if I win the next election, and I take nothing for granted, then it will be my plan to also fight the election after that as leader as well, all being well and unforeseen circumstances aside."

She insisted she was "absolutely" enjoying the job, despite controversies surrounding MP Michelle Thomson's business dealings and the Scottish Government's decision to award public cash to the T in the Park music festival.

While the First Minister insisted it is " too early for me to talk about legacy" she added: "I have very clearly said that education and closing the attainment gap is a personal as well as a government priority for me and what I have said openly, which some people think is a daft thing to do, is 'judge me on that'.

"You can't judge me on that now because these things take time, but over my period of tenure as First Minister, however long that will be, I want to be judged on that and I am prepared to be judged on that."

The SNP conference in Aberdeen will " be about putting the SNP on an election footing and it will be celebrating our achievements in government" but will also set out "where I think we need to go next in terms of the priorities for the country".

Ms Sturgeon said: " Of course, we have to put a manifesto forward for the next five years, but if we win in May, we will lead the country into the next decade, so it will be very much a long-term perspective, whether on health or education, about what we need to do to equip the country for the future."


From Belfast Telegraph